# November 28, 2006

## Snack + Algebra = No Sleep

Last night was pretty much a sleepless night for me. According to Earl I did actually sleep but I was roaming around the house sleepwalking. I don’t remember it, but apparently I was looking out the window. I’m sure the neighbors enjoyed the full frontal flash, leaving me to wonder why they were looking in our bedroom window to begin with.

I’m sure a lot of my restlessness last night was due to my college placement exam I had taken earlier. The first two parts were a snap, I enjoy reading so I breezed through the required reading passages and follow-up questions. The essay portion involved writing about an experience in which I felt a strong emotion. I passed on writing about a sexual experience and treated the exercise as if it were a blog entry. The most difficult part of the writing was using a pencil and paper, as I can type much faster than I can write. But I like to think I got through it with my own brand of insight and humor.

Then we came to the math portion of the test. There were actually two math exams, both 28 minutes each. If you completed the second test early, you were free to leave if you were comfortable with your answers.

The first page of the math test was fine, involving simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Earl and I have occasionally had discussions on the way I add because I break down everything to a multiple of 10 and usually do so out loud. It’s how I learned back in second grade and I continue to do that today. I’m really fast at it and if I didn’t say it out loud, you’d never know that when presented with a problem like “8 + 7”, I then say to myself “8+7 = 9+6 = 10+5 = 15”. It’s quirky, I know, but then what part of me isn’t quirky.

So I breezed through the simple math feeling a little cocky. Then I turned the page and that’s when the fog rolled in. I don’t know why it’s important to know the -2/3 exponent of the number 654 but that was the first question on the second page. I had word questions like “A Greyhound bus has left New York and is headed for L.A. It’s traveling at 65 MPH and will stop once for a potty break. How many gay men are on the bus?” I figured the answer was zero since no gay man that I know of would be found on a Greyhound, and marked my answer accordingly. Which brings up another whimsical point. We were told that if we didn’t know the answer to a problem then we should leave it blank rather than choose the wrong choice. Apparently we were penalized for wrong answers but not as much so for blank answers.

Crazy.

I struggled through the first math test and took a deep breath before jumping to the second with the rest of the folks in the classroom with me. Before she started the clock, the instructor told us to at least look at these questions before throwing in the towel. The clock started, I turned the page and all of a sudden “x” was doing perverse things to “y” with “z” jumping in as a threesome, all on the line of a fraction. At that moment approximately 15 people got up and left, less than one minute into the second half of the exam. I muddled through 10 or so of the 25 questions, once I jammed a “10” into the “x” part and tried all the answers on the multiple choice to make it all come together in a reasonable way. I left about 20 minutes into the exam.

“X” and “Y” were still on my mind, and dancing a tango with the chocolate cake and milk I had when I got home from school, when Earl and I called it a night. Therefore, I didn’t get much sleep.

Test results in a week. Can’t wait.