Monday, September 21, 2009

It Happens to Everyone. ...Right?

Today, I walked out of a class. Just stood up, grabbed my purse and backpack, and walked out.
This is a first for me. Sure, I've snuck out of classes early before, but this was different. And maybe I could have passed today's episode off as just that--slipping out unnoticed towards the end of lecture to attend an important appointment--except for three small details:
  1. I had no important appointment
  2. I left just 10 minutes after class started
  3. I was not unnoticed
Thankfully, my departure was somewhat discreet--I was sitting on the back row and walked out the back door, so few people saw me go. Unfortunately, one of those few people was my professor. And she actually stopped whatever it was she was saying, walked out the front door of the classroom, and called down the hall after me: "Miss Lindsay! Miss Lindsay!"

I don't make this stuff up.

Perhaps it stems from the fact that people have often assumed I'm at least four years younger than I actually am (in fifth grade I was mistaken for a first grader, as a 22-year-old missionary someone asked me if I was 17, and a few days ago on my birthday a coworker guessed I was turning 21. I can understand how this might be flattering once I'm over the age of thirty, but right now it just forces me to wonder if I come across as immature), but I really resent being patronized. The worst offenders are diminutives like "sweetie." I hate being called "sweetie" (though close friends or relatives or members of the geriatric population are generally exempt from this rule), especially when it's by fast food employees or people who are my age or younger. Equally distasteful to me is the use of "Miss/Mr. + first name" for anyone over the age of five (exceptions would be from children: I had an 11-year-old client who called me "Miss Lindsay," and that was fine because it was a gesture of respect). I realize I'm being nitpicky about frivolous things, and I also realize that Texas/southern culture is different, but I don't think it's too much to ask to be treated like an adult. And being chased after by a graduate professor hollering "Miss Lindsay" when I was well within my rights to leave her class made me feel like an oversized escapee from daycare.

I've never really been one to get severe bouts of PMS. I'm not saying I'm not moody--because heaven knows I am--but my mood swings don't have a predictable cycle (if you are thinking, "your poor, poor husband," I completely agree with you). But today, I think my "girly hormone" levels were off the charts. And I'm going to blame PMS. Because I started to cry in class. I mean, seriously--how old am I?? Ten years ago, it wouldn't have been a big deal: I think I cried in my AP Chemistry class at least once a week. But I'd like to think I've come a long way since then. And while there are still some times when I can't control my emotions, 98 percent of the time I can. So when I felt my eyes gloss over with tears that refused to be blinked back, I did the only thing that made sense: I left.

"I'm very sorry; I have to go," I called over my shoulder to the professor as I walked briskly down the hall. The professor, I can only assume, returned to the classroom. I did not look back.

I had felt angry and humiliated in class, but by the time I got to my car, I felt like a fool. Still, staying in class would have resulted in a nose-sniffling, mascara-running disaster, so I couldn't regret my impulsive decision.

I should not have cried. The triggering experience was not remarkable or significant, I wasn't feeling physically fantastic but also wasn't feeling incapacitated, and I'm usually pretty good at keeping my cool. But for some reason, on this day, under these circumstances, I lost it. And as I drove home, alternating between laughing at my tears and shaking with an anger I didn't fully understand, I thought, "so this is what PMS is like."

I got home, wrote the professor a brief apologetic email, and started this post. Forgive the TMI and the personal-ness, but I think we all have days like this. And what could possibly be more therapeutic than sharing my ridiculousness with the world? So whether you're laughing with me, laughing at me, or just shaking your head, thanks for stopping by.

4 comments:

  1. So my question is. . . what happened in class to make you cry??

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  2. I also absolutely despise being called "Sweetie" or "Hon." I wonder if this is common to those of us who are often mistaken to be 4 years younger than we actually are? The 20-year-old nurses at my OB's office telling me "The bathroom's right there, sweetie," just makes me cringe.

    Anyway, sorry you had a rough afternoon.

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  3. Sorry if I was vague to the point of being obnoxious; I didn't want to publish anything derogatory. My prof just wasn't very nice when responding to a question I asked in class, but it wasn't that big of a deal and I doubt many people even noticed. It was something that normally wouldn't have fazed me, which is why I was so surprised by my reaction.

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  4. It's always interesting to see how mood swings are going to work out in certain situations... I actually have a class with all guys, and that seems to be the one when my cramps are the worst. How does that work?

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