Sunday, October 02, 2022

Bobbo: The Test

"Put everything away except a pencil. We're going to start our test," Ms. Ortiz said as she began handing out two pieces of paper stapled together. A couple in the class groaned but everyone put everything away and got ready for the test. Ms. Ortiz dropped a test on Bobbo's desk. When she finished handing them out, she sat back down at her desk. "You have 40 minutes, class."
Name two important canals and what continents they are on. Bobbo read the first question on the test. That sounds right. But he didn't start writing. He kept writing over his name at the top of the page and then drew lines to connect the name, date, class lines together. He then began going through the test and filling in every open space in the letters. Soon, most letters were just faint blobs on the paper and Bobbo was directed back to the top of the page. He lackadaisically wrote Suez Canal Africa and Panama Canal South America.

If you were traveling from Mexico to Greece, what sea would you have to travel? Bobbo ignored the question and began circling the numbers next to the questions. He then began cross-hatching in the corners of the paper and using the corner of the top paper to create a design on the second page. Bobbo looked up at the time and then at the other kids taking the test and then back at the clock. He raised his hand and waited for Ms. Ortiz to call on him.

"Yes, Bobbo?" she asked.

"May I go to the restroom?" he asked.

"Fill out your pass," she said and went back to what she was doing.

Bobbo got back into his binder and took out his school-issued passport. He filled it out with where he was going, the date, and the time and got up and went to Ms. Ortiz's desk. She quickly signed it, he muttered 'Thank you' and left the room. He slowly walked to the restroom and went into one of the stalls. Bobbo spent several minutes in the stall doing various things to kill time that we aren't going to get into here. When he exited the stall, he went over to the sinks to wash his hands. There were posters put up for an upcoming dance, going out for track, and stopping bullying. Bobbo took the time to read carefully through them all. He washed his hands very methodically and slowly walked back out into the hallway.

Across the hall was a water fountain that Bobbo diligently went to and got a drink from. A very long drink. He paused and continued to stand at the fountain and looked at the poster above it even though it was the same track poster from the restroom. He got another drink and began walking back to the classroom, getting about halfway before turning around and going back to the water fountain.

When Bobbo got back to the classroom, he had wasted about seven minutes. He sat back down at his desk and wrote down the answer to the second question: Mediterranean Sea. He read the third question. True or false, India has a greater population than China. Bobbo quickly circled the answer and went to question four. True or false, The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean on Earth.

Bobbo sighed and looked at everyone else taking the test and then up at the clock. Everyone else seemed to be working while he just sat there. For some reason, he turned his test over and began writing the alphabet and numbers down in careful handwriting. If my handwriting were a font, this is what it would look like, he thought. My handwriting should be a font.

"25 minutes," Ms. Ortiz said. "When you are finished, just place your test in the turn-in box on the counter."

Bobbo looked around the room. In his head, he began thinking about how he would have his classroom if he were a teacher. He'd want his desk by the window but there was so little space in the room that everything else kind of had to stay where it was. Beneath his alphabet, Bobbo began drawing superhero logos and then began drawing a cat and dog. He flipped the test back over and answered the rest of the first page. Three kids stood up and turned in their tests. Bobbo watched them stand up, walk to the counter, place their tests in the turn-in box, and then return to their desk. I should've took longer going to the restroom, he thought.

Bobbo began slowly working his way through the second page. Five kids finished and then another seven before Bobbo stood up and turned in his own test. Bobbo returned to his desk and got a book out his binder to read. ▩