Monday, August 02, 2010

New office commons: a day in the life

Scene: The shared office commons now being touted in the Chronicle. Faculty sit at tables, their brightly-colored rolling carts by their sides. An elaborate Starbucks-like coffee counter is in the corner, its machines hissing and burbling. Students hover around the outside, waiting to see faculty but not wanting to break into the herd, so to speak. A few have braved the crowd.

Professor X: "I'm glad you came to see me, Stu Dent. I've noticed that you haven't been coming to class much lately."

Stu Dent: "mumble"

Professor Y to student at the next table: "I can lend you a copy of that--oh, wait, I don't have any books on campus any more."

Professor X: "I'm sorry, but I couldn't hear you. Can you tell me again?"

Stu Dent: (very quiet voice) "It's been rough at home, because my mother has ca--"


Stu Dent looks nervous, but continues: "cancer, and she hasn't been doing well lately--"

At the next table, a cell phone rings, and Professor M answers it: "HELLO? REALLY? SHE THREW UP AGAIN? I THOUGHT WHEN I DROPPED HER OFF THIS MORNING THAT SHE'D BE ALL RIGHT."

Professor X, trying to be encouraging: "That must be really hard. Well, on the assignment you missed the other day--"


Stu Dent: "I wanted to talk to you about that one, because [words drowned out in the noise from the steaming machine]"

Professor X: "I'm sorry, what?"

Professor N, who's been watching The Daily Show on his laptop with the volume low, now erupts in laughter.

Barista: "LATTE UP!"

At this point, Professor Y and the student are trying, but failing, not to look at/listen to the conversation of Professor X and Stu Dent.

Stu Dent: "Never mind. See you in class."


Disclaimer: This post in no way is meant to insult mothers, coffee drinkers, students, Daily Show watchers, professors, or baristas, but you get the picture.


Ianqui said...

Doesn't your blog have a 'like' button? I would like to press it, please.

Maggie said...

hahahahaha! Love it.

moria said...


Terminal Degree said...


Clio Bluestocking said...


Dame Eleanor Hull said...

Most excellent.

undine said...

Thanks, Ianqui! Do you mean the Facebook like buttons? I tried to put one in but couldn't get it to work (and was afraid that it would expose readers' identities in that charming Facebook way). Do you have a link for how to do that?

Maggie, Moria, Terminal Degree, Clio Bluestocking, Dame Eleanor--thanks! --thanks!

Oh, and Dame Eleanor: do you realize how close your name is to Dame E-learner? I do because I just typed that. Cosmic!

Anonymous said...


And...awwwww. It made me a little sad, even though I giggled, too. So true.

brandonpaulweaver said...

Actually at my institution a lot of the Professors have such little space that they can't really fit people in their office. They elect instead to have office hours at some of the various cafes around campus. It ends up about like you describe here.

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

How . . . ironical, considering that I am rabid about classroom learning being vastly superior to e-learning. I may have to change the spelling to Alienor, which sounds like something legal.

undine said...

Thanks, Ink! Thanks, Bardiac!

brandontheweaver, thanks for the confirmation. I was kind of hoping it wouldn't be like that, but if I were a student, discussing a sensitive topic in the middle of a coffee shop would be the last thing I'd want to do.