Psychology 101

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Two Rivers

Chapter 2 (v.1) - Next Class

Submitted: January 13, 2018

Reads: 95

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Submitted: January 13, 2018

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The next class came, and remarkably everyone showed up.  There were a lot of questions:  “How long do we have to do this?  Can we just do it just once?  What if we have a group and no one shows up.  If we make money what do we do with it?  How do we get graded on this,  and what are the criteria?  What if there is violence or someone calls the cops?” 

Professor Ryan raised his hands in the air.  “I will address each question one at a time.”  He looked around and said, “You only have to go out into the street once.  If no one shows up from your group, report back to me and we’ll figure something else for you, and the rest of the group’s grade will suffer.  Any money you make is yours.  Before the end of the semester, I will hand out a paper on how you will be graded.  If there is violence, move away, no one expects you to be harmed.”

Professor Ryan pulled a spiral notebook from his briefcase.  He had written each of the names and a brief bio retrieved from the admission office.  Each student had written their life story of themselves when they applied to the school.  He had put the student’s name and personal information of each of the students on separate pages.  “Joe Miller,” he called out. 

“Yo.”  Everyone laughed.

“Your project and are you working alone or with someone else?” Ryan asked.

“I told you last week.  I’m doing the minimum.  I’m going to make a cardboard sign, sit out there and collect my money.”

So, you’re working alone?”

“Yeah?”

Prof. Ryan looked at the short bio on Joe.  He remembered Joe was the loud guy in the back of the class with the yellow shirt with something vulgar on the front.  Joe’s father was a retired Colonel from the army.  Joe moved around a lot as a child and had learned to make it by using his wit.  After his father retired, he moved back to New York City where he had grown up bringing his family with him.  Joe told the college counselor, he didn’t know why he was going to college.  It was just something to do.  Joe hadn’t worked since getting graduating from high school.

Dr. Ryan looked at his next page.  Cindy Rose, he remembered her wearing the blue blouse and ripped blue jeans in the class the week before, sitting halfway back.  He called her name.  “What do you plan to do?” Ryan asked. 

“I plan to read poetry for food.”

“Working alone?”

“Yeah, unless someone wants to join me.”  Everyone was quiet.

“I guess you’re on your own, Cindy,” the professor said. 

“I can sing too if anyone needs a singer,” she said. 

“Okay, I’ll write that down, fill-in singer.”  Her bio read:  That she was a barista and read poetry on Fridays on open mic night where she worked.  Her mother waited tables at a local dinner during the breakfast run and then cleans houses in the afternoons.  Cindy had an older brother, who always borrowed money from her.  They never had enough money in their house.  Her mother always attended all Cindy’s poetry readings.

He glanced at his notebook.  Linda Sanders, “the problem child,” he thought.  He called her name.  “I still don’t want to do this!” she said.  “It’s degrading!” Ryan looked at her written sketch she had done on herself.  She played the cello and said she was good at it.  She wanted to go Julliard.  “Fat chance,” Ryan thought.  Her mother worked at a bookstore, and her father worked driving a delivery truck.  He knew she would probably take her required classes at the junior college and hope to go to at least a state college.

“Your project?” he asked. 

“I want to kill myself!”

He looked up jarred for a moment.  The class laughed.  He asked, “Are you serious?”

“No, I just want to play my cello in the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.  I’m going to play my cello for food.  Maybe that’s all I’ll ever get for my years of practice, public shame, and humiliation.”

“It’s only project,” he said talking directly to her.  “It means nothing about who you are, okay?”  She nodded.  “Okay?” he asked again.

“Okay,” she finally said. 

“Frank Jones Jr.” Professor Ryan read the name.

“My dad’s name is Frank Jones Senior, and I’m a junior, but I don’t like to be called junior.  So, everyone calls me Bud.”

“Okay, Bud, your project.”

 “I’m planning to head up a four-piece band and we need a singer, we’d be glad to have Cindy join us.”

“Yes! Yes! Yes!” Cindy nearly screamed. 

“Okay, it looks like you have a singer, Bud,” Ryan said.

“Sweet!” Bud said. He gave the Cindy the two fingers to the eyes, ‘I see you,’ and then he said to her, “After class.”

“Okay!” Cindy said. 

Professor Ryan looked at his notes on Bud: His father was a mechanical engineer.  Even though Bud was good at math he didn’t want to be like his dad.  He had considered becoming a psychologist or an economist.  He was leaning toward the economist because he could use his math skills and still influence people.  He tutored kids in his math class for extra money.  The Professor knew the kid was smart.  “Who’s with you in the band?”

“I’m playing drums, Kathy Simpson is playing rhythm guitar, Greg Morton is to play lead guitar, and Pete Johnson is going to play the bass guitar.”

He quickly flipped through the pages he had written each of the members of the band in his notebook.  The first name, Kathy Simpson, he remembered was the only girl in the class wearing a dress.  It was a Maxi dress kind of a throwback to the hippie era.  He scanned the bio.  She helped her mother in her mom’s beauty salon.  It was her mother’s idea she attend to college.  Anyway, it seemed like such a waste time going to college, except for the guys she met and her girlfriends she hung out with on the weekends.

Greg Morton’s life’s story read that he delivered balloonagrams for special events.  He even delivered balloons to a funeral when a mother’s five-year-old son died.  The little boy loved balloons.  Greg said he loved the work and would do it the rest of his life, but he also knew it wasn’t feasible.  He said seeing the smiles on the people’s face lighten his life.  His parents were divorced, and he couldn’t get along with his step-dad, so he lived with his dad, a retired librarian.  His dad was open to whatever Greg wanted to do.  Greg meets with his mom once a week for lunch.  He really misses her. 

The page with Pete Johnson’s name on it read that Pete was planning on going into the army.  His dad is a city councilman in his hometown in Iowa.  His dad also operates the local hardware store.  His mother is a school teacher.  He and his buddy came to New York to work on the new Freedom Tower replacing the World Trade Center Towers.  They have been working as labors out of the local union.  His friend wants him to go to some auditions with him to become an actor.  He doesn’t know about that.  It seems pretty sissy to him.  But each day on the construction crew, the acting career sounded better and better.  He thinks college might broaden his horizons and help him to decide what he wants to do.

Professor Ryan stood puzzled pondering the bios he had just read none of the four or even the fifth one, the singer, never even mentioned an interest in music.  Hmm!

“Okay, let’s see Bob Kessim?” Professor Ryan said.  He looked over to the left side of the class near the wall.  The professor was always amazed how students always sat in the same seat that they sat in the first day of class.  Not always though, he had one young girl in his class who moved to a different seat every class.  He recalled how he asked the class once to sit in first four rows and leave the fifth row empty.  The next week she sat in the fifth row.  He ignored her.  He wondered about this guy in black if he might be one of these rebel types because the week before he sat on the right side of the class, the only one who had moved to a different seat.  Ryan read the excerpt of his auto-bio of Bob.  His mother was a lawyer and his father was a stockbroker.  They well off, but to look at him you wouldn’t have guessed it.  He wrote that his parents weren’t going to help him waste his life becoming a writer.  He prided himself on being a self-taught poet and getting the accolades from the girls in his high school and for his sensitivity to the world in his verse.  He doesn’t care if his parents won’t want to help him.  He had applied for loans and grants; he’d make it on his own. 

“Yeah, I’m going to write mini-novels for my project,” he said. 

“Okay,” Professor Ryan said.  He looked at the last two students he hadn’t called on, John Spencer a white guy and Anastasia Jefferson a black girl.  He hesitated; he was going to call John but at the last minute, he called on Anastasia.

“Anastasia Jefferson?” 

“Yes.”

“Your project?” he asked.  He noticed she was a full figured girl even though she wrote of her mother being small and petite.  She wore bright colors of yellows, orange, and red.  Professor Ryan wasn’t surprised when she said she was an artist and was going to paint pictures for food.  Her mother was a single parent and worked as a saleslady in a woman’s clothing store.  She said her mother could sell a full outfit to a customer, even if the lady only came in for a bottle of perfume.

Finally, Professor Ryan called out John Spencer’s name.  “I’m thinking of making my sign to read: “Will paint your house for $600.” 

Professor Ryan smiled and said, “I like it and will keep you in mind when my house needs painting, but your sign has to read whatever plan to do you will do it for food.” 

“Oh, bummer,” John said. 

“However, that’s not to say,” Professor Ryan said, “and this goes for all of you, any deals you work out over and above the sign, is entirely up to you, okay?”  He looked out over the class.  “Joe says, he is going to put his sign up that says will work for food but plans to do nothing but collect money.  That is your purgative.  But, the sign must read will do something for food.”  No one had any questions so Professor Ryan felt he had gotten his point across. 

He started putting is books in his briefcase, and the students took their cue.  He yelled at them as they scrambled for the door, “Read the introduction and chapter one for next week!”

 


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