Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Short and Sleepy Confession

I can't remember a time in my life when I was more tired than I was in the last few days. I hate being tired because I can always think of things I'd rather be doing than resting, but in the last few days, I couldn't help but spend a lot of time lying around half-sleeping, half trying to convince myself that I could get up. This morning, I finally feel rested, and with a beautiful snow on the ground and coating all the trees, it feels good.

I love New England!
The nausea stinks but that's all old news. Being done with my last chemo treatment is new news, but I'm not in the mood for a reflection on all of that. Instead, I thought I'd recount a quick story that makes my family laugh every single time we recall it. I can't believe after all of these years, I am finally going to come clean on this, but it's time. And at the very least, my Mom will get a good kick out of it (again). 

When I was teaching and in law school, I tutored high school students to help them prepare for the SATs or just to help them in their regular school subjects. I worked with great kids, many of whom I still see around town and many of whom still call me "Ms. Talbot," which makes me smile every time. 

Pat is one of my former students and he still calls me Ms. Talbot even though I have tried to tell him he can call me Tara now. Pat is Pat's real name, and Pat has a great sense of humor. This confession is long overdue, and if he ever sees it, I think he'll get a kick out of it. 

I remember sitting in Pat's basement tutoring him in the SATs. This had to have been about seven or eight years ago. One afternoon, as we worked through practice problems, I remember thinking, Crap, I am so going to fall asleep sitting on this couch. The gum that I kept in my tutoring bag was the one technique that usually helped keep me awake when I was so sleep-deprived that I thought I wouldn't be able to keep my eyes open. But that afternoon, the gum didn't help. 

That afternoon, I asked Pat a question -- I can't remember if it was verbal or math -- and then I fell asleep. Yep, right then and there. Fast asleep. I have no idea how long I was out for, although I still pray it was only a few minutes, but I was out. Poor Pat. I wonder what he did when he saw me sleeping and until now, I have always been too horrified to bring it up even though he must think of it every time he sees me. If I know Pat, I bet he just sat there and laughed to himself. Eventually, he got up and flicked the lights on and off. I woke up. 

Despite that I believe that honesty is the best policy, I was so embarrassed that I had fallen asleep that I couldn't even acknowledge that it had happened. I just woke up and moved on. I cringe, and laugh, even now as I write about it. When the hour was over, I debated whether or not I should take the money for the hour of "work." I knew I really shouldn't, but if I didn't take it, Pat's lovely mother would wonder why. So I took it. To this day, I still think I owe the family $40. Or maybe I should have just made up a SAT math problem based on my horrifying mistake -- If your SAT tutor falls asleep for 1/8 of the hour that she was paid to tutor you, and she charges $40 an hour, how much money does she owe your mother for the time she was not awake? 


  1. Is the answer to your math problem yellow? 65 m.p.h.? 3:2? Gahhhh!

    Cute story! I'm sure the poor kid didn't take it personally, nor has he spent years in therapy because of it.... :)

  2. Still my favorite story of all time. Remember when you did that to me in the car?