Saturday, February 4, 2012

Willing to Learn

Seems I'm always in the dark now. Dark when the clanging alarm clock wakes me in the morning, dark when the bus drops me off in the evening. And dark when I sit through endless instructional films in my riveting class at the vocational school.

Our instructor acts as though he drew the short straw when it came time to decide which faculty member got stuck teaching a bunch of women how to do factory work. He's happiest with his back to us, scratching away at the chalkboard while we watch his glistening bald head. Betty passed me a note once: "It's like having a cue ball for a teacher." At the desk on my other side, Jane occupies her time doodling fashion designs. Only Susan, who sits behind me, seems reasonably studious.

It's not as though we're not motivated. Betty and I are desperate to keep at bay the loneliness and worry that come from having husbands in the service. Susan and Jane need the money. And all four of us are determined to do everything in our power to help win this nightmare of a war that's upended all of our lives.

But we're all impatient to get out of the classroom and onto the Boeing factory floor. Mr. Cue Ball may be unavoidable, but he seems more like a barrier than a bridge. We're as anxious to be done with him as he with us.

Despite the long, dark days, the cold coffee (I've taken to brewing it the night before because I don't have time to make it in the morning) and the dull classes, I find myself filled with a strange restless energy. World events are so catastrophic as to defy comprehension. I lie awake at night listening to the ticking clock and imagining air raids, burning ships and armadas of aircraft droning through the skies. When I finally fall asleep I dream, unsurprisingly, of rivets. Rivers of rivets, rushing by in rows faster and faster until they blur together.

Rumor has it that next week we'll finally start practicing with real tools. Can't happen soon enough.

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