Wednesday, May 11, 2005

La Injusticia

After 17 weeks of dialogues about La SeƱora Fernandez on trial for breaking and entering and armed robbery after stealing bonds and money orders from the corner store to support her drug addict niece, supplemented with one non-sequitur reading after another (The History of Colonial Argentina, The Maldive Islands, Forms of Government, etc), it was time for a review session. The professor tells us that there will be two sections to the exam: a text with questions and a matching section. As the hour is wrapping up, he starts spouting in Spanish (one of the few times he actually spoke Spanish directly to us) about the process of a civil action through the courts in a civil law country. We all start scribbling things down, trying to catch everything-- he was going along at a pretty good clip-- and he turns around, chuckling, and tells us that we don't need to write it down, it's just some information for us. So, we all put our pens down and the last few minutes of the class pass.

Friday morning, I show up with my Spanish-English, my German-English, and 501 Spanish Verbs. I'm feeling pretty good, pretty confident, as nothing we did this semester was even a passing challenge for me. The text wasn't too challenging-- a bit about a contract dispute-- and the first two pages of the questions were easy. Then I got to question number 16: What does one call the kind of contract Sr. B signed with Dr. C. What? How should I know, seeing as we never covered that? Oh, yeah, that's right: we covered it in the last 15 minutes of the semester. You know, the stuff he told us we didn't need to write down. The remaining questions on the text? All of a similar nature.


I literally paged through the text page-by-page and confirmed that it was not only not covered in the course, it wasn't even covered in the textbook, which had only dialogues on criminal matters. Then I took up my dictionaries and started making things up.

After the exam, I met up with some of my fellow classmates in the hall. Everyone was cursing the Professor's name over those last two pages of questions. So, at least I wasn't the only one who made stuff up for half of the exam. Thank God for the curve-- I think that's the first time I've ever said that.


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