Bodies in a Study Room - 9/14/06
As tutoring picks up again with the commencement of the high school year, I returned today to the wonderful Redondo Beach library, where I've helped many a student explore the joys of poetry interpretation and inverse cosine functions. Typically I like to reserve one of the library's several private study rooms, so my students and I can talk freely and I don't bother anybody when I throw pencils.

One thing that's always bugged me about these study rooms is that the librarians insist on checking the room's condition, both at the beginning of one's reservation, and again at the end before they let you have your ID back. I'm sure it's policy, but considering the study rooms are about the size of a tiny bathroom and consist of a table, two chairs, and nothing else… I can't help but wonder what they're looking for.

What could I possibly do to a 5x8 foot study room during the hour I reserve it for? I've often imagined, during many a frustrating walk with the librarian as she gets up, plods all the way over to the room, checks it, then walks all the way back to get my ID… What could I do to surprise them? What if they went to check the room one time, and there was just blood, everywhere? Covering the walls, ceilings, everything? The librarian would look at me with a shocked expression, and I'd be like "What? What's the problem?"

Or if somehow I managed to entirely fill the room, floor to ceiling, with water? Or sand. Like the room was packed solid with 400 cubic feet of beach sand I had somehow managed to transport into the library during my hour stay, without anybody noticing.

I think my favorite is if they went to check the room, and there was just a huge pile of dead bodies in there, stacked all the way up to the ceiling. Like as many as you could fit in the room. The librarian would look at me, horrified, and I'd just stare blankly back and be like "What? What's wrong with the room? (then) Oh, the bodies? It was like that when I got here."

Is it weird that I think of these things while my students are struggling with polynomials?

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