....where I have a photocopying thumb wound! Those machines can be savage when not treated with respect.
So, I'm there for like 4 hours yesterday making copies which will then be scanned into pdfs for my grad class. TD is my faithful sidekick, but has gone around the corner to get himself some coffee and me a muffin.
An attractive, well-dressed, late 30s-ish woman walks in and is copying across the "work island" from me. She notices the seven hundred and four different medieval books I'm calmly taking the little sticky-notes out of (a mix of primary and secondary reading, of course). And she says,
Lady: Are you torturing your students?
MW: Huh? Oh, yeah (token laugh) - it's for a grad class I'm teaching.
Lady: They let you teach a grad class with a master's degree??
MW: ?!?!?! (thinks, "am I wearing a shirt that says "I only have a master's"?)
Lady: I mean, I assume you don't have a Ph.D., you're too young.
MW: Oh. Nope, I finished in 2006.
Lady: That's impossible.
MW: ?!?!? Actually, no. I was there. So were my parents. I have proof...
Lady: You're too young. But, anyway, do you teach this stuff??
MW: Stuff? Yes.
Lady: I hated the Canterbury Tales in highschool. I read the Cliffnotes version and hated it. We had to memorize the entire Prologue....it sucked.
MW: The entire General Prologue, or just the first 17 opening lines or so?
Lady: No, the entire thing! And it was in that ancient language. Did you know that it was actually written in an entirely different language??
MW: No. I didn't know that. I just hope no one recognizes that gap in my knowledge if they read my dissertation.
Lady: I hope your students don't mutiny this semester, ha ha!
MW: I have ways of putting down insurrection with violence. They won't know what hit them.
And then a nice Indian man walks in and wants to know how to use the machines.
Man: What do I do? I want 160 copies of these.
MW: Oh, I don't work here, but I can show you quickly. Do you want them stapled?
MW: 2-sided? Collated?
Man: No. No.
MW: Okay, that's easy - you just put your credit card in the thingy and then...
I proceed to show him how to put the originals in and what to punch on the keypad. And then I notice an outsider who is sidling up to my machine as though he's going to poach it! So, similar to the Romans when they left Britain, I decided to withdraw my troops in order to protect my photocopying empire.
At that moment, the man I'd been helping put in his card and it immediately shot back out at him. He looks at me expectantly.
MW: Oh, it might need another card - you can ask one of the photocopying people to help you at the desk - I've got a ton to do here (I say, glancing significantly at the poacher).
Man: The Staples guy looks busy. You do it.
MW: ??!! I don't work here, they can help you. He's just hung up the phone. He looks free.
Man: You can just do it. (He starts trying to force his credit card and papers onto me).
MW: Look, I have a ton of my own work to do. I'll call the guy over...(begins to wave hands in the air like I Just Don't Care).
Man: (looking irritated and hurt) I don't see why you couldn't have just done it for me.
At that point, TD brought in my chocolate chip muffin and I nibbled it to calm my ire. Why did he want me to do it? Was he afriad of the Staples guy (a skinny, acned kid of about 16)? Or was it because I'm a woman, maybe?
How is it that I look old enough to be entrusted with a stranger's credit card to make copies for him, but so young that the mere suggestion that I have a Ph.D. is enough to make a women who is not much older than me react with complete, total, monolithic disbelief??
I told TD the story as we continued copying and we laughed and laughed....