Limitations of Time

This occurrence is a direct result of Reciprok Eight. If you need a reminder of what Reciprok Eight is, since your mere mortal brain finds it impossible to recognize on your own, the best thing to do is to revisit Invitations of Speech. For the lazier mortals who can’t handle even that, here’s a review:
Humans. They think they know so much. They know of decades, centuries, millennia and whatnot, but they don’t have a clue how to measure in eleventeens. I would explain its measurement to you, but it’s difficult, complex and irregular with the human counting system. Basically, every twelve eleventeens make one reciprok. A reciprok is another measurement that is too difficult to represent in the human counting system. I don’t know how to explain one other than by telling you what has previously been stated: that a reciprok is made out of twelve eleventeens.
The reason most humans haven’t noticed the existence of the reciprok is primarily because they are stupid. But apart from that, reciproks show their symptoms with much subtlety and gradually. For example, the first reciprok was when girls began to suffer so much more; periods got more painful and childbirth became more unforgiving. The second reciprok is when humans began to spread throughout planet Earth and divide themselves by skin colour and language, and wage wars against each other for no reason. Many more things happened between Reciprok Two and now, one of the most identifiable of which is Reciprok Seven, which many humans decided to recognise as the Industrial Revolution.
But now, as we enter Reciprok Eight, freakier things than the invention of giant, dumb machines are beginning to happen. This is a bit more of what you would call ‘supernatural.’ I call it nature, because the thing is, human beings aren’t happening to the world anymore; the world is happening to humans.
To explain further, the laws of the universe have changed. In Reciprok Eight, humans automatically feel the effect of most of their words or actions. For example, if one picks up 5 Cedis from the floor on the street, he will later, as he eats his dinner, feel the hunger of the previous owner of the money, who is now too broke to afford dinner. Hence, the thief eats, but is not satisfied. You might say the universe is being cruel. But I strongly disagree. Like every self-cleaning system, it is just trying to figure out a way to eliminate the germs.
A lot of funny stories are resulting from Reciprok Eight, and this might be one of the less outrageous of them. Let’s call our tale…

Limitations of Time

Teachers often told their students, who were being crushed under the pressures of academics and often compulsory extra-curriculars simply to “make time!”

As if that were the ultimate solution to every problem, the value of x of all algebraic equations, the straight path in the middle of the maze. “Make time,” as if time were a thing that could easily be “made,” as if all you have to do is find the appropriate time generator and press a button or order, “Yes, could I get a serving of about two hours, please? With an extra helping of ten minutes and a couple of extra seconds on the side?”

And they, of course, never saw anything wrong with it. It was always perfectly logical. But who could blame them? They, who were older, were still stuck in the conditioned mentalities of Reciprok Seven.

Enter Asantewaa, a fifteen-year-old high-school girl with a hell of a load on her head and her shoulders – the latter literally as well as metaphorically. Her school bag was amazingly heavy. In it were four large folders, full of papers. There was supposed to be one for each of her five classes, but her poor, scatter-brained mind had unfortunately failed to remember to pick up the last one before she left her room in a rush that morning. Asantewaa had four homework assignments due that day, and she’d done half of two and three-quarters of the rest. What a pity that fractions of homework did not obey the addition laws of mathematics; otherwise, instead of having done effectively none, she’d have done two point five out of four of her homework, which was a least more than half.

It was Friday, and she’d gotten all the homework at the beginning of the week, as her teachers had been utterly convinced that four or five days was an over-generous amount of time to complete it. Of course, academics and science had taught Asantewaa that one must always take the assumptions made into account, and in this particular case, the teachers had made quite a few. They had assumed, for instance, that their respective homework assignments were the only ones that Asantewaa would have on her plate. They had also assumed that Asantewaa was a bored child with nothing to do in life except sleep and watch TV, and thus, saw the need to aid her in profitably utilizing her entire life.

Her demanding parents, unfortunately, appeared to have made the second assumption as well, except that they chose to tackle it in a different way. The consequences left Asantewaa with no choice but to attend piano lessons every Monday and Wednesday, and go for basketball practice every Tuesday. Even tonight, she had to go for a German lesson at four-thirty. Honestly, the two-point-five pieces of homework she’d manage to complete had all been done the previous night! Not that the teachers would understand, or even agree to listen to her reasons – sorry, she meant “excuses.”

Asantewaa was more relaxed when she walked into her history class that Friday morning than she’d been in a while. That was because, due to them having had a test on Tuesday, during the previous lesson, the class was assured that none would be forthcoming today. It was too soon, and anyway, their teacher, Mrs Larbi, had told them that they would all get their papers back today so they could discuss the questions and answers in light of the examinations which were looming ahead.

Asantewaa made it to her seat right before the bell rang. When it did, Mrs Larbi walked into class looking slightly flustered.

“Good morning, everyone.” She looked up after she put all her books and files on her desk. “Ei, why is everyone looing so tired, ehn?”

“It’s Friday, Madam,” a mischievous boy sitting next to Asantewaa, called Joseph, volunteered.

“It’s Friday, and so what? You think you’ve been worn out by the week? We teachers have worked harder than you. If you knew how many things we’ve had to do…marking scripts, writing reports, setting questions…it could drive you mad. Anyway, I’ve been very busy this week, and, as such, I haven’t been able to finish marking all of your scripts.”

“That’s not fair! We need them to revise before the exams!” cried Joseph.
“Oh, you don’t, really. Just go and read your textbook,” countered Mrs Larbi, ignoring the looks of dismay and disappointment on her students’ faces. “Now, moving on – where’s that homework assignment that you all owe me? I’m coming around to collect.”
Uh-oh. Asantewaa’s heart pattered in her chest so fast she thought she might get cardiac arrest anytime soon, and so loud she thought Mrs Larbi could hear it from four tables away – now, three. Oh dear, she was getting closer too quickly. Asantewaa’s heart threatened to leap up her throat. She pretended to be rummaging in her bag amongst her folders. Presently, her sunlight was blocked by the figure looming over her.
Attempting to swallow her heart back down into her chest, she looked up. Mrs Larbi’s unsmiling face was staring right back at her. “Well?” she asked impatiently. “Do you or do you not have your assignment?”
Asantewaa sighed. There was no way she was going to win this. She might as well resign herself to what was to come and just say the truth.
“Well, you see,” she began.
Mrs Larbi’s face clouded over like an invisible thundercloud had just materialised on top of her head the way it does in cartoons.
“Hey, hey, hey!” Mrs Larbi proclaimed. “Stop right there. I don’t want to hear another one of your excuses! You didn’t do the work!” Mrs Larbi, unduly angry because of something so – well, unimportant, turned towards the rest of the class, apparently feeling that everyone else needed a share of the blasting too. “Now listen here. If you think that you can just walk into class and give flimsy excuses like ‘I was busy this week,’ or ‘I didn’t have time,’ you are joking with yourself, and you are joking with your life. It’s not me that is being affected oh! It’s you! If you do good, you do it for yourself. If you do bad, you do it for yourself. See here, all of you don’t know how to manage your time. If you properly structure your life, you can meet all your deadlines. You’re students. What at all do you have to do? Make time!”
Once again, speaking of making time like it was a mere dish you could cook, with ingredients easily found.
“So, Asantewaa,” she continued. “Why don’t you have your assignment?” Mrs Larbi stared, awaiting an answer.
“Shut up! Didn’t I say I was tired of your excuses?”
And truly, it was probably because of that statement, that interruption, that irony, that final straw of bigoted unfairness, that the universe decided to work its magic – its very own preservation process of ridding itself of what it considered chaff, to put it mildly; stupidity to put it blankly. It did this through what we should all know as Reciprok Eight. And this time, there was barely any delay.
It was not considered usual for the principal, Mr Gyamfi, to be seen inside classrooms, but from time to time, he liked to take an unannounced stroll around the school, just to make sure the school at least appeared to be running well. You can guess how the story goes from there.
Mr Gyamfi walked into the classroom just when Mrs Larbi was done saying the word “excuses.” AS if on automation, all the students in the class stood up simultaneously as a sign of respect and greeting, and chorused, “Good morning, Mr Gyamfi.”

He smiled. “Good morning, class. Sit down.” They sat. He turned to face Mrs Larbi, the smile still on his face. “So…ah…how are the lessons going?”
“Oh, fine. We were just about to start on the uh…Cold War.”
“Ah…really?” Mr Gyamfi raised his eyebrows. “I thought that was reserved for next term.”
“Next term? Well…you see…they were doing so well that we managed to get ahead of schedule a bit.”
“Ah…Is that so? Wonderful. But if you’ve already finished this term’s syllabus, I expect you to have had ample time to finish writing their reports…” He left it hanging, almost as a question.
Mrs Larbi was starting to look highly uncomfortable. “Well, the thing is…I also gave them a test which I had to mark so…”
“Ah, I see,” interrupted Mr Gyamfi. “So I suppose now that you’re done with marking the scripts, we can move on to finishing those reports?”
There was no response from Mrs Larbi. Mr Gyamfi started to frown. You have finished marking all the test scripts by now, haven’t you?”
“Not exactly…” Mrs Larbi shuffled.
“Not exactly? What is not exact about it? I don’t think there was anything vague about my question,” challenged Mr Gyamfi. “You teachers simply do not know how to manage your time! If you structured it well enough, you’d have been bale to complete your marking and report-writing on time. What are all these excuses that you come up with? No, no! I don’t want to hear them. You must simply MAKE TIME!”


Note from me: This was very fun for me. I don’t know. I feel frustrated a lot when instances like this occur and it feels good to have it released through humour. A lot of this is largely based on experiences from Faith Montessori School.There are a number of quotes I have even included from multiple teachers via the speech of Mrs Larbi. It was, however, triggered by a not-so-nice experience I had a few months ago in *censored* class. LOL. This story is for humorous purposes, guys. Don’t eat me. 😉


3 thoughts on “Limitations of Time

  1. LOL. Takes me back to my middle school and high school days. There was a point in time, I had seven classes a day,five of them were hour long classes.I had college level Spanish, four extracurricular activities and a seat in the Student government body, not forgetting prepping for my SATs. I finished high school, one tired girl. Mrs. Larbi reminds me of some of the teachers I had, who just couldn’t understand why you could not finish their assignments and homework in time. A teacher evaluation form revolutionized our system as we protested silently with our pens.
    Great piece! You had me laughing really out loud.

    1. Ooh, I’m glad this was relatable for you. 🙂
      Teacher evaluation forms. Hmm…Do they really work? I’ll have to put some thought into that.
      As for your life, well, mine sounds a bit similar. Well, you survived, so that’s inspiring.

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