I’ve always had an unexplainable need to know exactly who will be in my classes before I enter the classroom on the first day. The combination of Blackboard (where I can see the full roster) and Facebook (where I can stalk each individual) satisfies this need quite nicely. But such was not always the case! There was once much more work required on my end. In elementary school, we were notified of our teachers in a highly-anticipated letter sent over the summer. Days before the expected arrival of this letter, I created an organized table with four columns, each representing one of the four possible teachers. If I was feeling particularly inspired, I selected different fonts for different teachers. You know, crazy things like that.
As soon as I got my letter, I sharpied my name into the appropriate column, and headed straight to my work station where I had set up the necessary materials: a telephone, the school directory, a comfy chair, and multiple pens so there would be no running out of ink mid-entry. I bid so long to my family, promising to emerge around dinnertime, but only if tacos were on the menu. I really liked tacos.
Flipping through the directory, page by page, I then called every single person in my grade. Yes, every single person. Even those I had never spoken to, and those with whom I’d had dramatic, first grade falling outs. Most of the conversations went like this:
Me: Hi! This is Jacqueline. Is James there?
Parent: Sure, one second, I’ll go get him.
Me: Hi James, I’m just calling to find out what class you’re in.
James: Mrs. Moore’s.
Me: Ok, thanks! Do you know who anyone else got?
Me: Ok, thanks anyway, bye!
(scribbling in James’s name as I hang up the phone)
Or sometimes it was more like this:
Me: Hi This is Jacqueline. Is Susan there?
Parent: No, sorry, can I take a message?
Me: Well I was just calling to find out what class she’s in. Do you know?
Parent: Yes, she got Mrs. Brown.
Me: Ok great, thanks!
My system was fairly foolproof. I used my catlike reflexes to hang up before anyone could ask me reasonable questions like “Who are you?” or “Why do you even care?”
Now that I think about it, I’m certain it was this practice that caused my present telephonic awkwardness. Not too long ago, I left the following message on a friend’s voice mail:
“Hey! Dan, it’s Jacqueline. You know, your friend…yup. So I was thinking about you the other day, because I was watching a cooking show and they made clam chowder. And there was that one time we got soup together. Remember? Oh shit! You don’t eat clam chowder, you’re a vegetarian! I forgot! UM (cut off by the beep)…bye.”
Needless to say, despite the fact that my cell phone has a name and a cute penguin sticker, it doesn’t get a lot of use.