Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Parlez-vous francais? No.

So I had this HUGE presentation in my French class today that was worth a whopping 15% of my grade. I've been stressing about this thing for about a month now and spent the previous weekend working on nothing but this. No, needless to say, I was nervous. Incredibly nervous. I'd been shaking with nerves for a solid 24 hours! So before leaving home I made sure I had everything I needed, notes if necessary and my flash drive - very important - and I go to class.
Frere Taylor asks me if I would go first and I said yes just to avoid prolonging the torture. I'm shaking, a bundle of nervous energy, ready to drop dead at the slightest provocation. I had a poem that I wanted to share during my presentation, but for fear that I would throw up if I tried to share it, I asked my friend Nathan to do the honors for me. He agreed, and I felt a little bit better about my life.
Class starts and I head up to the computer, praying the whole way. I plug in my flash drive and ... no powerpoint for me. I was pretty sure that my life was over at that point. My teacher sees me floundering (and he probably caught the look on my face, too) and comes over. I explain that I don't have my presentation and that I need to run home and get it from my computer. I ignored the look of "you're a nutjob" and flew out the door, down the stairs, outside, across the parking lot, across the street, up to my apartment, to the door, and - locked. At this point I was cussing in my mind. I'm 2.3 seconds away from ripping out the screen and jumping through the window when my roommate opens the door. Miracles do happen. So I bolt into my room, re-save the stupid presentation on my flashdrive, and bolt back to my classroom in less than two minutes.
I'm not sure that my class knew what to make of my presentation. Here I was panting as i try to speak in coherent French (a feat on its own) while completing the most critical assignment of my whole life. As you may or may not know, I'm really bad at the whole "Speaking French" thing, so in my powerpoint I had some memory triggers and things to make it interesting. For instance, when I talked about this poet's parents, I put up two little cartoon pictures of a mom and dad - really goofy-looking ones - and I said, "And these are actual photographs of his mother and father!"
You would have thought these people had never heard a joke before. How can she kid around at a time like this? Doesn't she know what this thing is worth! Although they were probably grateful because I was currently in the process of making their presentations look WAY better.
I continued to ramble nonsensically until I came to another fun slide where I talked about this poet's dreams of going into a certain profession being dashed because of an illness. At the point when I said that, the pictures I'd put up of those two professions were crossed out with a "eeeeert" buzz like when you get an answer wrong on a gameshow. I thought that was pretty clever. Again, I was alone. All alone.
So I moved on again to the part I knew couldn't go wrong: the poem. So I introduce the poem and invite Nathan to please read it now. "Nathan. ... Nathan? ..." His neighbor nudged him and he sat up straight. I could be wrong, but I thought he might have been drooling in his sleep. Great. But we woke up for long enough to read the poem, but then dropped back asleep again.
Oh well, what can you expect?
I finished my presentation and went back to my char amid a smattering of applause while my teacher says. "Okay, next?"
So encouraging.
But hey, maybe I'll get points for grace under pressure. Or maybe my professor will just pass me because he doesn't want to sit through anything like that ever again. Who knows?