Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Camels and Bananas

"Really, are you even trying to make it look like you're paying attention?!"

My pre-Calculus teacher's shrill, high pitched voice didn't jive well with my morning habits. You see, I'm a self-diagnosed chronic insomniac, and morning people just piss me off. Most days, I wake up hating the world and all who inhabit it. I drag myself to where I need to go, but usually hex everyone around me as I do so.

That particular day, I had been sick the night before. When I get sick, my insomnia gets somewhat worse, and my mom knows I just have to sleep. So, she gives me a sleeping aid when night comes around. However my mom is no pharmacist, and sometimes she gives me something in the morning that she describes as "just a little something to ease the pain." This "something" usually drugs me up so much that I walk into school looking like a coked-out zombie.

That day was one of my coked-out zombie days. I was blinking sensitively beneath the harsh fluorescent lights, holding my hand at the level of my forehead as I squinted to see the board. My head would tilt back and then I would snap to attention suddenly. I think my classmates were more afraid than they were amused.

"Please attempt the word problem JP, okay? That's the only way to get better."

I glared at my math teacher through my squinty, red-veined eyes. My groggy drugged-up thoughts flew around in my head, and then I thought of a book idea. 'I'll write about every bad teacher I've ever had,' I thought, 'yeah, I'll call it The Miseducation of Juan Pablo... has that been done?'

"PLEASE!" Her voice was reaching a shrill fever pitch, like two sparrows battling over a mate.

"OKAY!" I responded, then laughed at my own grumpy voice. Everything is hilarious when your mind is not all there.

I looked at the word problem... and let me tell you, it was a groggy person's worst nightmare:

"A camel makes a journey through a 500 mile desert trading bananas from one city to the other. It must go there and back. It eats one banana every mile, and can leave bananas and come back for them at any given point..."

At first, I was trying to solve the problem, but then my thoughts gravitated to this poor camel that had been selected to perform this thankless task. It made no mention of a travel companion for the camel. If taken literally, it would seem that some evil banana trader had trained this camel to make the journey all by itself and eat a single banana every mile.

"Yup, this is my prize camel." The evil banana trader would say, "I don't even gotta make the trip to the next city, nope, old girl here does it all on her own. Trained her to take one banana out of the sack per mile, I figure she's good for two hundred trips or so. You want to know how I capitalize on her labor? Well, there's a tricky math problem to it..."

I couldn't stop thinking about this camel, alone in the godforsaken desert, somehow trained to feed itself...

"Are you sleeping?!"

"Huh? No!"

It's funny how instincts can make us defend ourselves. Had I been sleeping? Yes. So what was the logic of me saying no? I guess because she had proposed it as a question, and I just wanted to pick the more favorable answer.

"First hour, I swear, always sleeping..."

Then I laid my head back on my desk to resume sympathizing with this poor, poor banana trader's camel, alone on its journey through the desert.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

bananas. ugh i remember that godless day. never again. poor camel. good post.

Anonymous said...

and just so you know this is rufus. i forgot my google password.

Punch said...

I say, give anonymous Rufus a banana.
Calculus was a math I liked. Seems there was not a right answer. The answer lay between here and there.
Wait a minute, if a camel was here and went there, wellthen, it is obvious! The answer is bananas. Gosh JP wish i had been there that day, might have been able to help out.

Not So Glamorous Housewife said...

I remember my highschool math teacher stopping me in the middle of a very important conversation and stating "Ms Not SO Glamorous Housewife" (this is actually my married name, I prefer not to use my maiden) " Do you think you would learn better if I moved you to the front of the classroom?" I promptly responded with "Will you still be my teacher?" and then learned better from the hall outside of the classroom.

mysterg said...

If I were that camel, I'd have the right hump!

Valerie said...

I always slept through my highschool math class... my friend once drew a "map" of everyone in the class, and there was the couple making out it the back, and everybody else just sitting there, and me, asleep.

Juan Pablo said...

Haha thanks guys! That camel is probably still making its way through some desert as we speak...

Sandy said...

I feel for you JP, I am a nocturnal creature myself and prefer to sleep during class. I am just glad I don't have to go through calculus again.
Keep posting!
Cheers! :)

Juan Pablo said...

Haha thanks Sandy! I hated calculus with a passion...

Mr. Charleston said...

You shouldn't feel so sorry for the camel. After all, he could turn around and come back for his banana at any point. The camel said screw it, went home, ate all the bananas and took a nap. The answer to the problem is 300 bananas a mile.

javierandres said...

Jeez I failed Algebra imagine what sort of achievement it would be if I wouldn't be placed in statistics..
Blame your sleepiness on the summer heat :l

The Vegetable Assassin said...

I do this sort of thing too. Take incidental points from a story and dwell on them and ignore the actual point of it. If something's preposterous or unlikely I like to point it out. I'm obnoxious! :)

Juan Pablo said...

I LOVE being obnoxious as well! :D Thanks everyone for the comments!