Posted by: stillironic | December 18, 2009

South of the Border University—6

The Provost Says to Multitask

Gregor left work in utter frustration. He’d spent the afternoon trying to prep a group of Asian teaching assistants for an upcoming series of conversations with native English speakers. He and his group had spent the afternoon smiling, gesturing, and nodding their heads, and getting nowhere.

He had already requested that the university hire translators, especially of Chinese and Korean. The provost, Aldo Scissors, insisted there was no money in the budget. Scissors had shrugged and said Gregor lacked imagination and needed to learn to multitask. Most workers on campus, however, suspected that top administrators, the provost included, were actually afraid of the 15-year-old finance director. It seemed they were even afraid to speak his name; in truth, no one knew what it actually was.

Stopping at the market, Gregor saw milk in bottles, a new trend, apparently, along with the olive bar, the rustic breads, and the assortment of goat products, all of which made him uneasy. He preferred buying familiar food in packages and cartons, which obviated the need for asking questions about whether or not bottles were returnable or making decisions about whether to fill a container with a mix of olives or just one kind, and if so, which kind. And what if he bit down on a pit and broke a tooth.

He couldn’t stop thinking about what had transpired that morning at the assembly held to discuss how to use the iceberg sculpture to promote the university and ruminated over how he would describe it to Lily. She was remarkably sympathetic about any indignities he or anyone else suffered. Struck by a pang of affection for Lily, he thought about her upcoming trip to visit her parents in Utah. She was so much easier to appreciate when she was out of town.


© 2009 by Virginia Gerhart


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