Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Presentation Day

I'm in a classroom that resembles my high school Spanish classroom. It is some kind of presentation day and every student must stand up in front of the class individually to present. I come unprepared and when my turn to go comes up, I remain silent and the female teacher calls on the next student (she is calling us in alphabetical order) without even acknowledging my presence. I feel ashamed but relieved. My desk is in the front right corner of the class. When the next student begins to stand up to present, a middle aged thin man, with a stubble, and balding (his face resembles a Polish heroin addict I met at the train station) sitting in a desk in the front middle of the classroom and says something along the lines of "hold on! Hold on! Let the kid go! It's his turn, it's not fair to skip him!" At this the teacher nods and calls me up to the front of the classroom. I am nervous and do not know what I am going to say or do. I position myself at the front of the classroom and smile sheepishly. It's now that I notice that the middle aged man that called me out is wearing a leg brace and is holding a cane, still sitting down. He begins to rant about his horrific experiences in Vietnam, his eyes darting furiously from me to the teacher and back. Another man siting in the back of the class butts in saying he was at 'Nam too. The two Vietnam vets begin to argue amongst themselves. I'm still standing at the front of the class and look to my right, where a stereotypical Orthodox Jew (curls, black rimmed hat, thick glasses...) walks up to the desk at the front of the class, seemingly unaware or uninterested in the situation, to staple some papers.

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