Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The Hole

Yesterday I finished the last of the grading. I was feeling a bit guilty when I took it in. I thought it was late. But when I handed it in at the office the very polite guy told me that no, in fact I was early. The grading isn't due until the 18th of this month. However, he added, somewhat embarrassed, the syllabi were due ten days ago, and I don't think we have yours yet...?

Whoops, oh dear. I don't know what he was so embarrassed about.

Last night, well, early this morning really - after spending far too long getting the vacuum cleaner (two entries back) just right - I finished writing the syllabi, and today I took them in.

While I was in the part-time teachers' room, just me and the secretary instead of the usual 15 or 20 people crowded in there, I suddenly realised that this was the perfect opportunity for me to take a photograph of The Hole. I waited until the secretary was busy with something on her computer, whipped out my camera, and took the picture. Then I quickly put the camera away and went back to the photocopier, hoping she'd think the flash came from the computer. I didn't want to explain why I was taking a picture of a hole in the floor.

I've been wanting to write about The Hole for a while, but didn't think anybody would believe me without a picture.

The Hole appeared a few years ago. There used to be a power outlet in the floor, where you could plug in a computer. Then for some reason it was removed, and the metal lid over it was removed as well, and we were left with The Hole. The Hole is not very deep, but is a little wider than the wheels on the chairs in the teachers' room, and is positioned right behind one of them. We cannot rearrange the seating as there isn't space.

What this means is that if you have the misfortune to get that chair (the teachers' room is frequently very crowded and you don't have a choice), and you are sitting there innocently working away and just happen to push back your chair a little too far (which isn't very far), one of the wheels in your chair will go down The Hole and you'll lurch back, screaming loudly. The chair doesn't actually tip all the way back, just enough to make you flail your arms around in an undignified way and crack your knees under the table.

About two years ago, after numerous complaints and near-coronaries, the university finally decided to do something about The Hole. I don't know why it took so long. Maybe they had to form a committee. I think it took a committee to come up with a solution like this.

They put a warning sign next to the hole.


The funny thing is that this solution worked, sort of, at least in the sense that nobody complains about The Hole anymore. The chair still falls into it periodically, and the victim screams, flails and cracks his or her knees, but that just creates an opportunity for everybody to have a good laugh, and for someone to quote the sign:



Daryl said...

Here's a question: if they had tape to tape the sign, couldn't they have taped up the hole? It may not have prevented chairs from falling in, but at least it might have helped...

Badaunt said...

Well, yes. It would have helped. In fact you would have to work really hard to come up with a solution that was any more useless than what they actually did!

Anonymous said...

As I was reading along, I couldn't imagine what was going to be funny about a picture of a hole on the floor.

Then I saw it.

I choked on my coffee.

Thanks, that was a GREAT story. And, you're right, the picture made all the difference.

Megan said...

I take back the comment on your last entry: THIS one is the funniest post ever! I think the more educated people are, the stupider the things they do. This hole is a great example. Thanks for the enormous laugh you gave me!

pri said...

Maybe too polite, isn't it?

Anyways it's funny to see those signs.