FFM 2020 24
Sharlene arrives at work to the sight of a long line of late-teenagers and early-twenty-somethings and one or two middle-aged folks. She is confused - it isn't exam season yet - until she pushes past them to the front desk and the badge scanner refuses to acknowledge her credentials.
A system-wide network failure, the student in the front of the line explains to her.
Just what she needs. It does explain why there has been no email about it though.
But IT is working on it, says her colleague who is on her cell phone with them now. They should have it back up and running any time, they say. And the exam is due today, and the professor isn’t answering his email (big surprise). So the students stay.
"Any time" doesn't come quickly. Some students have sat down to study in the hall. Others pace anxiously back and forth - "I don't think studying will help me at this point."
Sharlene watches them wear a hole in the floor with their pacing. She can't do anything until the system comes back up. But watching them pace is increasing her own anxiety.
"I have some dot-to-dot in my bag," she says suddenly. "I can tear out a few pages if you think it would help with the anxiety."
Some of the pacers answer that yes, that would help to pass the time.
So she takes a slightly oversized book out of her bag and tears out a few pages. These are the overly detailed dot-to-dot games that are supposed to draw famous landmarks. They will keep the students busy for plenty of time, as that is what this delay has turned into by this point.
"Um, excuse me," says one student. "I'm not sure how to do these. I've never seen polka dots like this before."
"You mean to tell me you've never done dot-to-dot before?" And who calls them polka dots? Poor deprived teenager.
The student nods. "What do I do?"
"Oh, it's quite easy. See these numbers? See how they go in order?" Sharlene says. "You put the line in the polka dots and link 'em both up."
"Now let me get this straight: I put the line in the polka dots and link 'em both up?"
"You put the line in the polka dots and link 'em both together. Put the line in the polka dots, then it’ll look better."