Report from the Trenches

Welp, the 102s are quiescent as they labor toward their 2,500-word magnum opus. Of the 45 survivors, all of three have ever written a ten-page paper. Because this vast position paper is worth three times the score of one of their 750-word squibs, they’re understandably anxious to do as well as possible.

Next week we’ll be doing one-on-one conferences, during which each classmate will be required to show up with a thesis statement, an outline, and at least some evidence that he or she has managed to start the research. Final, spectacular papers are due on the 24th, providing a full three weeks in which to read the stuff before grades are due.

Meanwhile, speaking of grades, I scored an 88% on the first test in my real estate class. Not great, but better than one might have expected, under the circumstances.

I’ve been so tired. And on the day of the quiz I had a glass and a half of wine with the mid-day meal, which has become the main meal of the day in these parts. Interestingly, I’ve found that a drink consumed during the day, even (as in this case) several hours before class begins, dulls the edge on my knife in that evening class.

The sleep deprivation goes a fair way in that department, too. I’ll go along for four, five, six or more days on four hours of sleep a night, far less than I need to function. Wednesday I had a migraine or something like it, an experience I haven’t had the privilege of enjoying in lo! these many years.

Otherwise, Wednesday was a pretty typical day.

After writing, editing, and publishing a post at Funny about Money and drafting another,  I spent most of the day reading perfectly excruciating copy, struggling to finish editing a bizarre book whose author’s theory, upon which she exposits repetitiously and pointlessly for 325 mind-numbing pages, is based on a system of literary criticism that deservedly went out of style thirty years ago.

Then it was off to choir practice.

Back at the Funny Farm along about 9:15 or 9:30, I entered changes, edited, and proofread yesterday’s “Entrepreneurs” post at FaM and scheduled it to go live the following morning; then wrote three pages, single-spaced, reporting on the excruciating book, calculated time, and composed an invoice for the Press that is publishing said money-loser.

By then it was midnight.

Fell into the sack and passed out. Awoke as usual at 4:00 a.m. Couldn’t get back to sleep. Read news on the Internet.

On the road by quarter to seven: off to the weekly business networking group. Then to the client’s: drop off the excruciating book. Then to campus: teach two classes. Then back home: bolt dinner. Then back to campus: attend real estate class.

So “Wednesday” blends into “Thursday” with only a short nap and a man-made system of time-keeping to demarcate the two.

The real estate licensing exam is said to be a bear. You have to score 75% or above to pass; since some of the questions entail math, which I simply can NOT do (even with a calculator, I can run a series of calculations three times and come up with three different answers), I’ll have to ace all the factual, non-mathish questions if I’m going to pass the thing.

Thus 88% on a quiz that had no math problems is not satisfactory. On quizzes like that, I’ll need to hit 95% or higher to be assured of passing an exam that has hundreds of questions, some of which entail computation.

Last night the instructor remarked that a good way to learn the real estate business is to spend a year or two working as a successful agent’s assistant. That is exactly what I have in mind: to work as someone’s gofer, rather than to go out and market myself as a sales agent.

Not that I wouldn’t like to earn what real estate agents make. It’s just that I strongly doubt I can sell.

Nor do I need to earn that much. What normal Americans think of as a pittance would pay my bills with more than I have left over each month from adjunct teaching. In fact, if I could find a flunky’s job with flexible hours, I could hang onto my classes, earn part-time office wages, and double my income.

Doubling my income would hardly make me rich. A second job that paid exactly what I’m earning at Heavenly Gardens Community College would, when combined with the $12,000 Social Security income, generate all of $40,800 a year.

It still would be tight. But it wouldn’t be just awful, the way things are now.

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