aqua fortis

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Nerd Nightmares

Last night I dreamed I was back in Berkeley and getting ready to graduate. It was graduation day that night, but earlier in the day I needed to turn in one last paper for a psychology class by 2pm or it would be considered late. The professor would not accept any late papers and would fail anyone who didn't turn their paper in by the deadline. Back in my room, I got distracted by packing my clothes and things and when I looked at the clock next, it was after 3pm. I panicked, and called the office number I had written down for the professor. He was still there, but was adamant about not accepting late papers no matter what. 

I cried and wailed that I had been an A student all that semester, hoping that would sway him to make an exception. He said that it would have been fine if I'd arranged an extension in advance, but I hadn't, so too bad. He said I could still drop the class if I didn't want a failing grade on my record. I was terrified that this would mean I wouldn't graduate, and all because I'd just lost track of time. Also, I wasn't sure what it meant for the graduation ceremony itself, because I was supposed to speak during the ceremony and had my speech all prepared and ready in a folder.

I went to campus to pick up an add/drop card from the building where they kept the forms and such. There were people everywhere, on and off campus, milling around—students and their families parking and heading over to the stadium for the graduation ceremony. For some reason I was with a couple of people I'd gone to high school with. We walked down to the building where I picked up the add/drop card and then over to the building where the professor's office was, so I could try to give him my paper one last time and, if that didn't work, get him to sign the drop card. 

I can't remember what happened at that point, but later, I was walking toward the graduation ceremony because I knew my family expected me to be there to speak. I was desperate to keep my dad from finding out what had happened. He kept talking proudly about how I was a salutatorian, and I had to explain to him, no, I'm just a speaker, but maybe if I'm lucky they'll announce the salutatorian list and I'll be on it. I was starting to wonder if the people running the ceremony would even let me speak, given the circumstances. I put my things down in a seat and went to use the bathroom before it got too crowded, but the wall/door between my stall and the audience seating area kept popping open or getting opened, much to my chagrin. Plus, I hadn't had time to change my clothes to wear something nice under my graduation robes, so I was wearing some kind of polka-dot pants and a ruffly sleeveless blouse. I decided I didn't care about that part; I'd just have to forge ahead even if I was wearing weird clothing.

Later, my dad was holding a graduation party for me at his house. We were in some kind of huge upstairs room. I was still freaked out about whether I'd actually graduate or not. At first, there weren't very many people there, and then suddenly, when the musical entertainment went on—a young woman singer—the room grew crowded. I went to get something to eat and drink and sat down in the back next to the wall. Suddenly I noticed what I was eating and drinking: wine, although it tasted like juice; and various slices of pizza with pork products on them—pepperoni, Canadian bacon, etc. I was shocked my dad would decide to provide pizza with popular pork products on it for his non-Muslim guests, and then I got terrified that he'd see what I was eating, or some other guest would notice and be appalled.

That's all I remember.


adrienne said...


The best and what maybe most characterizes this as a nerd nightmare is that you had the speech all prepared and in a folder. It's the folder that pushes it over the edge, I think.

I have dreams that are very like this in spirit, although often in them I get sent all the way back to high school.

aquafortis said...

I know, the folder! It was a dark dusty blue folder--I even remember the color.

I hate the ones where I'm sent back to high school. Usually, though, I just end up in some grown-up setting but surrounded by people I went to high school with. I'm not sure what that means.