It was the last session before the lunch-break time. Senior High school time. My history teacher told us -30 something students- to make a 2-page summary about the life of a national hero. She told us we could find the references in our school library. She gave us 2 hours to finish the summary. My friends -all of them- saw it as a moment worth comparing to an independence day. They ran out of the class the moment they were allowed to. The class suddenly became empty. Except for my being.
I watched my friends as they ran happily out of the class. Still on my chair, I opened my history book wide open on the desk and started reading while lying my head on the desk. The teacher watched me. “Don’t you want to go to the library?” She asked. “No, Ma’am. I’m good.” I answered. I was not really interested in going to the library because 1) the library was just an empty place with dusty old books which made me sneeze all the time and 2) I could find the story of a hero right in front of my eyes: in the text book! But, the teacher asked again, “Are you sure you don’t want to go?” Uninterested, I said no again. I began reading again with my head lying on my folded arms, on the desk. She then positioned herself on the teacher’s chair and started doing something else.
Less than 2 hours later, not one of my friends returned to the class. I could imagine easily where they would be and it wasn’t in the library. I finished my summary and came forward to the teacher’s desk. She had watched me closely the time I tidied up my desk, closed the book, and walked to her direction. She received my paper without saying anything and then read it slowly from the first word to the last. I waited for her because her eyes told me to. She finished reading it but then returned to the first page and read it again. I still waited for her expressionless. I neither cared nor interested in knowing why she had to read my paper twice.
She finally looked up and looked at me in the eyes.
“I don’t understand you.” She said.
I raised my eyebrows in incomprehension.
“Why didn’t you go to the library?”
What? Still? “I’ve got everything I need in the book.”
“But your friends loved it instantly when they were allowed to go to the library.
So? I didn’t find it important to answer her.
“I thought you were one of those naughty students who had difficulties following instructions.” She continued.
WHAT?! I stared at her in disbelief.
“I watched you while you were sleeping on your desk…”
“I wasn’t sleeping,” I cut her sentence, “I was just reading the book the way I liked reading it.”
“Well… I thought you were a naughty student who’d rather sleep in class than study in the library.”
I opened my mouth… in shock.
“But then you finished the task before the time limit and you handed me a really excellent summary!”
I closed my mouth… in shock.
“I was wrong and I…”
“Can I go have a break, now?” I cut her words. Again. I wasn’t interested in hearing any more of this nonsense.
She nodded and seemed like she was trying to say something again but couldn’t because I left her the moment I saw the nod.
Yesterday, I was doing a field observation in a training together with some other trainers. I sat at the back of an elementary classroom with a pen and a notebook in my hand. I gave my full attention to the training. I didn’t even play with my cellphone and stayed sitting quietly no matter how bored I was at that time. I neither complained nor I showed any expressions on my face. I tried to behave well by conforming to the group’s character the best I could -something I rarely do in my real life. The way I saw it I became a really nice-quiet observer keeping any opinions, feelings, and expressions for myself.
It was not even lunch-break time yet when I was questioned how I felt about the training. I told the person-in-charge what I thought about the training in a matter-of-fact tone. She stared at me for seconds and said, “so you DID pay attention.”
It was like senior high school history class all over again when I heard the pic said what she said.
*For Je. So, you’ll know. Thanks for the ears, by the way.”
There’s a part of me in the chaos that’s quiet.
And there’s a part of you that wants me to riot.