Monday, August 31, 2009

Back to School

There is something slightly humiliating about attending Community College classes in my thirties. Most of the other students look like prepubescent junior high kids whom have just sprouted arm pit hair. The first day of class I felt like I should’ve lathered myself in anti-wrinkle cream and worn less sensible shoes so that I would’ve stuck out less.

In my English class the teacher has us interview each other. When I tell the girl sitting next to me I have three kids she nearly screams, “How old are you?”
“30,” I tell her. She can’t believe it.

I am unsure if I should be flattered that she thought I was younger or insulted over just how ancient she thinks I am. There is nothing like a 19-year-old with blue eye-shadow to make you feel geriatric.

In my freehand drawing class I feel a little less out of place. This class hosts the largest senior citizen population I have come across at Mesa. I think retirees have decided to spend their leisure days learning how to draw. I sit next to a transgendered gal named Ruby who tells me she is pursuing a career in fashion design. Her hands are like mitts and I can’t stop staring at them.

My teacher is frightening. She wears turquoise jewelry and heavy silver bangles. She rolls her eyes a lot. On the second day she kicks a guy out of her class for leaving the room to answer his cell phone. She dramatically removes his equipment from his easel and spits out “Don’t come back in here!” when he attempts to re-enter the room. So much for the Zen art class experience I was hoping for, I think to myself. I feel like I am in a bad Saturday Night Live skit.

My drawing professor spends a good chunk of the class berating us. I cower when she passes my easel hoping she doesn’t stop. On Wednesday, when she sees me erasing something on my sketch pad, she swoops in.

“How far apart should those two lines be?” she demands pointing at my page.

I feel like it’s a trick question. I start to panic. When I say two inches she groans.

“I want you to envision two inches. Don’t tell me using words and measurements. See the lines in your mind!” She lets out a lengthy sigh and glares at me as if my existence annoys her.

Mid-way through the class we walk around the room to look at each others work. My sketches are pitiful. I was so preoccupied with the idea of my teacher helping me again that I spent an hour and half erasing and redrawing a small fraction of the still life that was set up in the room.

When I get home that day I check my art teacher’s reviews on I am alarmed. Multiple students recommend not taking her class, one says she has no soul and another states that she is a complete and utter loon. I promise myself that in the future I will always check rate my professor before signing up for a class.