Dream of: 18 October 1995 "Damn Answers"

I had shown up at a class which was being taught by Rembert Glass (my old philosophy professor). I was surprised to see that I was the only student who had shown up. Although I didn't distinctly see Rembert, I knew he was here. To my dismay, since no one else was there, Rembert decided to leave.


I was outside, standing next to the driver's side of a red Volkswagen beetle which was parked at the top of a downward-slanting driveway. Although I still couldn't see him, I knew Rembert was in the car in the driver's seat, and that he was getting ready to leave. I was upset. I thought he still had an obligation to conduct the class, even if I were the only person who had shown up. Cuttingly I said, "I don't think its fair. What has happened to you?"

The class which Rembert was supposed to be teaching was mathematics. The students had been given the assignment of solving ten problems for the class. I had only completed the first three problems and was still working on the fourth one. Even as I spoke to Rembert, I was using my black calculator to work the problem. I had already improved my use of the calculator because I was using the parentheses keys to speed up the operation.

When I finished the problem, I asked Rembert if he could go over the problems with me. He said he couldn't, but that he would give me the answers. I replied, "I don't want the damn answers."

What I was trying to convey to him was that I didn't simply want the answers; I wanted to know the proper way to work the problems; if I had made any mistakes, I wanted to know why I had made them. Rembert said he couldn't go over the problems right now, but that he would come back latter; he asked me if I could return at eight o'clock that night. I thought for a moment and told him I couldn't commit to coming at that time, because I was uncertain whether I had other commitments; I might have promised my wife Carolina to do something with her.

Insisting then on giving me the answers, he pulled out a paper and began showing the answers to me. I compared his answers to mine. My first answer was correct. The answer to question number two was three, and the answer to problem number three was four. I likewise had both of them correct. Rembert had also written that the answer to number three applied only to that problem. I had also written something similar to that next to my answer, so I concluded I must have understood the problem. For the fourth question I had written out an answer instead of giving a simple number. I looked at his answer to see how it compared with mine.

All the while we talked, I never saw Rembert's face. I only heard his voice. But I had a vague impression of his face in my mind. Just as I remembered him, he had a black beard and looked as if he were in his late 30s.

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