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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

My life as Jane Goodall

For those who are new to this blog, let me tell you that once a week during exam period I proctor the upstairs study room from 10pm to 4am. Officially, this is called the night shift. Some of my fellow proctors call it the graveyard shift. I simply call it the shaft.

The hardest part of this job is that it isn't hard. There is nothing stimulating to challenge me to beat the clock besides the thought of getting my paycheque at the end of the month. To keep busy, I read novels and watch movies on my laptop. But there is only so much of that I can do, and usually by the 5th hour--around 3am--I am bored out of my wits and I have to play mind games to stay awake and alert. Lately, I'm playing this game where I pretend I am a zoologist studying the behaviour of students during exam period--not unlike Jane Goodall studying her chimps, only my subjects don't revel in picking and eating lice off eachother's backs.

So far, I've found that most of the students who study in my 27th floor ecosystem fall into one of the following categories:

The Hardcore Keener
This creature is the bane of my existence. He is the reason why I must stay till 4 in the morning without any hope of being able to leave earlier. Unlike other students, the keener will arrive at the study room at 4pm when it opens and stay until last call at 4am. The keener is a predominantly nesting creature, and can be seen with a large assortment of books, clothing, and food scattered across his table. Fiercely territorial, the keener does not take kindly to other creatures encroaching on his space. When confronted, he will often use the awkward but deadly defense of claiming that he is saving seats for his friends--to date, I have not seen these mythical "friend" creatures.

The Social Butterfly
Though gracious in movement, this creature is very annoying, often engaging in chatty courtship rituals that prevent other students from grazing and studying. The social butterfly can be spotted by her distinctive plummage: UofT hoody and trackpants. It is not unusual to see this creature holding a Nalgene water bottle in one hand and a small novel in the other for purposes of "studying". The social butterfly enjoys circling the room and often makes several exits and entrances over the course of an hour. Though loud and obnoxious when gathered in groups, the social butterfly is harmless and when cut off from her social group, will quickly become quiet, wiithering on the vine until she finally decides to leave.

The Snack Eater
This creature has a voracious appetite for both savory and sugary snacks. Recently, biologists have been fiercely debating the classical classification of this creature as a student because he does more eating than studying. Like the hardcore keener, the snack eater is extremely possessive of his territory. However, the snack eater adopts a unique defence mechanism to product his territory: he marks his table and surrounding area with plastic bags, food crumbs, and sticky residue from various sodas and fruit jucies. Most other creatures, upon seeing this clear demarcation of space, will avoid the snack eater's stronghold at all cost.

The Loudmouthed Whiner
This creature possess abnormally keen hearing, and unbearablly shrill vocal cords. At even the slightest sound or temperature fluctuation, she will voice her dissatisfication with an ear-piercing voice and jackhammer persistence. Unlike other creatures in the study room, the loudmouthed whiner has a very narrow temperature range within which she can survive. Anytime the thermostat drops below 20C or rises above 22C, be prepared to cover your ears if you are in the vicinity of the loudmouthed whiner. To spot one, look for these distinctive traits: constant frown, thick glasses, tidy hair (firmly clipped), and very well organized binders and notes. As a special note, if ever a loudmouthed whiner and a hardcore keener are in the vicinity of eachother, bloodshed is almost guaranteed. Though the fighting style of these two creatures will appear awkward and almost comical, it is never* wise to attempt to break it up; these are very deadly creatures and either one can destroy an untrained civilian.

Well, that's all I've found so far. When I discover more about these amazing creatures, I'll be sure to let you know.

Your Favorite Jerk


At Wednesday, April 06, 2005 1:04:00 AM, Blogger arts_guy said...

Wow, what a rich and active ecosystem you have there. Thank you for your insights, maybe you should film them a la Jacques Cousteau

At Wednesday, April 06, 2005 6:57:00 PM, Blogger julia said...

hrrmmm... I think that I fall in the "Hardcore Keener" category...
good thing you're not "proctoring" me :p


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