as many institutions of higher learning do, F.I.T., the fashion institute of technology, has a program called senior scholars. for a mere $35 registration fee you can apply to audit a course. not limited to the fashion industries, the school offers languages and literature, history and technology and many hands- on art classes.
picture a large conference room - dozens of round tables, a coffee station, registrars, bursars, a place to get your picture taken for an ID, a woman announcing numbers. fill it with women of a certain age excited at the prospect of some academic stimulation. as you enter you're given a number and when your number is in the group of numbers called you join the line at the registrar desks to wait and see if you've gotten into any of your chosen classes. easy. like rows at the boarding gate. you would think.
you'd be wrong.
because there's always one.
a mantra, that: there's always one.
and of course one is all it takes.
number 41. let's call her artemis. she felt she needed to be at the front of our group. 41 comes before the other forties. she had arrived before us. we should be lined up in order. blah blah blah. evidently she bullied her way past passive 45 and 44 and 43 in this manner. then she got to me. i was thinking: oh please. i was thinking: really? she was complaining to the woman who was monitoring the line, she was complaining at me, declaiming her right to be ahead of me. and i became, well, me. i was going to hold my ground. what episode in my childhood made me feel the need? no clue. but after a while it was ridiculous. i got bored. i took artemis by the shoulders and moved her around so she was ahead of me. there you go. happy? no, that didn't do it for her. she kept yapping about unfairness and finally i let fly with invective.
reader, i cursed.
presently she went to her registrar, i went to mine. next to her of course. she was yelling at the registrar.
i got my first pick: introduction to jewelry fabrication on saturday mornings! i was originally given the wrong registration slip. hers.
next back to our tables to wait to pay at the bursar's line. before i could cringe at the idea of once again being called in order i was approached by a young man in uniform. security. a complaint was being filed. artemis41 might be insisting on calling the cops. she was saying i punched her in the back. incredulous, i explained my version of events.
let me interject: all of the staff: registrars, monitors offered me apologies and hugs and asked if i was ok. i was but when the incredulity wore off i wondered if you can actually get arrested for salty language. the security guy spent a good 45 minutes with artemis, filling out paper work and, i gather, talking her down. i saw no police. she did sidle up to me on the final line - for pictures, to assure me i was "on file".
reader, if you've gotten this far you deserve the punchline. what course do you think artemis41 was registering for. tai chi.