I showed up stoned to the orientation. I was high for the first time in my life. Everything was funny. I was so glad, because I needed it. The tiny, grey infrastructure seemed suffocating and the vacant expressions just brought on a sense of foreboding that I didn’t allow myself to be prejudiced by because come on, at least give it a shot.
The presentations were mundane, the head of the law department had a very eccentric way of pronouncing everything and I was staring at the black wall next to me, watching the mosquitoes take their aim. I was also ignoring Easa staring at me and softly commenting on how stoned I was. I had a force field of charas around me. SZABIST could not touch me.
Then this teacher came up to the podium and she was angry, for what reason, I’m not really sure. But she was angry. She was the wick in the wax, burning the dull. I kind of liked her. Easa hated her and I started to laugh. I remember slapping my hands on my mouth because I was having fits of laughter. I kind of liked how angry she was. I kind of loved how high I was. She vaguely reminded me of someone.
When we left that sorry excuse for a hall, I met Hana and asked about the angry teacher and Hana told me something along the lines of how she totally knew I’d like her because that teacher was a feminist. Hana told me I’d get along with her. Easa said something negative, as per usual, and I finally had someone to look forward to in a place that… I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s nothing personal, SZABIST, and maybe that’s the worst part. It’s not you, it’s me. It really is. But it’s a little bit of you too. Actually yeah, there’s a lot about you that won’t make it work between the two of us. We’re just not good for each other. Any way.
So the first time I met the teacher, who I will now call Jaded, she asked the class to each name something we’d never done and would like to do. I said some bullshit about wanting to visit Jerusalem, I think, which is so bizarre because wtf visiting Jerusalem isn’t even on my top 30 to-do list. Anyway, she let me see a subtle feminist side because she mentioned being happy about all the girls having adventurous ambitions or something. I was so ready to let her teach me something. I thought, yes, maybe this won’t be so bad.
But then I discovered that she was patronizing. She would smile and insult and not even give the class a chance to respond. She expected us to not do the reading and she felt herself a moral superior in every way. She isolated the students who really needed her help in learning (who then never asked questions (they became intimidated and indignant) and eventually stopped showing up) and she kept letting on the fact that she had given up. She came to class unprepared and only interacted with the students when she wanted to pick one of them out for their political ideology or familial background (vaderas, military parents etc). She said things about how once she would make her students read some interesting commentary on the cases but now she “knew better” or how she told us to read her blog where she’d called our entire generation entitled and stupid. She hated the system she taught in yet she’d do nothing to change it and then she insulted some Kashmiri kids and according to whatever authority behind the rumors, wanted an apology instead of giving one. I need to emphasize once more on how patronizing she was. Smiling while insulting. I watched her silently. I watched her a little hurt. I couldn’t participate; she suddenly didn’t seem worth it.
It’s not her fault. It’s no one’s, perhaps. When I say no one I may be referring to the unnamed perpetrators in charge who let such a system exist or the arbitrary chaos of the universe. She’d spent too much time, perhaps, with people who didn’t care to learn all that she had to teach. She’d experienced the workings in both the school and the court, enough to retrieve her comfortable ambitions and destroy her illusions of saving the world. It wasn’t fair of me to expect so much from someone who shouldn’t have to carry the weight of the future Pakistani justice on her morale. I don’t blame her.
But I do blame her too. I wanted a figure of authority (though the external program grants her very little) to look up to. I wanted to learn law beyond textbook law. I wanted to be believed in but she didn’t even give us a chance. She wanted to despise us. She was both Elizabeth and Darcy without the growth and resolution. She took the job, and the job belittled her. Her bitterness is not her fault, but if she has the job, she should fucking do it. And I don’t mean do it on automatic textbook mode. She knows what I mean. It’s what she set out to do before she lost her way on the road eroded by the toxicity of reality.
Maybe she did us a favor. Learn the book, learn the law, keep your head down.
I can’t end on this negative note, so I’ll mention her saving graces. She had sparks of inspiration. She became herself for a few moments and room 201 (or whatever) became a classroom. She did try a few times. I’m not romanticizing her. People feel affronted when you tell them you know them without them having told you any of their secrets. But this is an age of social vomit. Everyone’s insides are a mess spat out. Even if you don’t want to clean the mess, you can’t help but watch, speculate the diagnosis, rationalize the prescription. I will abandon this metaphor now.
I wish my teacher could have been a teacher. It’s not her fault I eventually stopped going to class and decided I couldn’t participate. But she sure didn’t help. I have 3 other teachers, but this one hurt most because I accidentally expected something.
Fuck it all. Nothing matters. Ugh, nihilism, how did you seep into this drunken blog post?