Tuesday, November 13, 2007


At the place I work on Mondays, when the bell goes at the beginning and end of class it is very loud inside the classrooms. The other places I work have bells as well, but they sound outside or in the corridors rather than in the rooms themselves. It can be quite annoying inside the classroom. If I teach right up to the bell (usually by mistake) it can be irritating to be interrupted so loudly and rudely.


Yesterday the bell went for the beginning of classes and teachers reluctantly (and eventually) tore themselves away from their newspapers and/or the latest gossip and dragged themselves off to class. At this time of year it all feels a bit hopeless at that place, but we keep trying.

I was halfway through calling the roll when the bell went off again.


I just about jumped out of my skin, and went into a bit of a panic, staring wildly around me. It was like being woken up from a dream you thought was real.

I wasn't that late, was I? I thought. It doesn't take me ninety minutes to call the roll, does it? And then, even more panicked, Or ... did I come early? Does that mean I have ninety minutes to go FROM NOW?

For a few strange moments I didn't know whether I was coming or going. Had I taught a whole class and not noticed? Or had all of us in the teachers' room suffered a collective hallucination the first time we heard the bell?

I stared at the students as the last peel of the bell died away.

One of them laughed, interpreting my baffled expression correctly.

"Shimpai shinai!" she said. "Don't worry! It's been strange all day."

I didn't know whether to be relieved to discover we were already eight minutes into class or annoyed to discover we were only eight minutes into class.

Come to think of it, I seem to have been having trouble with time the last couple of days. When I got to the station today the station clock on my platform read 11.20. I felt horribly dislocated, because in the dream-like state I'm still in until well after breakfast I'd thought it was around 8.00.

I've missed the first two classes! I thought, horrified. How could I have lost three hours like that? I tried to remember actually looking at the clock after getting up, and failed. How could this have happened? Why didn't I enjoy my time off?

Then I looked over to the other platform. The clock over there read 8.05.

Perhaps I should start wearing a watch instead of carrying one somewhere down the bottom of my bag where I can't find it quickly, but watches always give me a rash after a few days, so I probably won't.


Keera Ann Fox said...

Do you carry a cell phone? I have friends that no longer wear watches because they always have their cell phone with them.

Anonymous said...

You know what this sounds like, don't you? Jet lag! But without the travelling to interesting places. Like rainy Brisbane.

Yes, I know that's usually an oxymoron. *sob*

torrygirl said...

I have trouble with time too, although mine relates to the fact that every clock/watch/phone in my house/car/office reads a different time - some of them as much as an our behind (stupid daylight savings...)

Maybe you could carry something else that has a clock built into it, say a pen like the one here:


It also has an impressive 'writting' function.

Lia said...

That happened to me when my watch battery died a few weeks ago. I was going crazy all day - I had to run out during lunch and get a new battery, because otherwise I would have needed a straitjacket.

Melanie Gray Augustin said...

It almost sounds like something that would happen in a Murakami novel.