"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?!"
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.