I Remember I Am a Lady

Last spring, I had to take a graduate level course in order to renew my teaching license. It was no big deal; the class itself was pretty easy and it was a distance-learning class to boot, so I could just watch a video and then answer some questions and write a paper and that was it.

The biggest problem came when I tried to obtain my transcript so I could send it to the State Board of Education.

I had filled out a transcript request during the mandatory seminar in April. The university had to have my undergrad transcript before they would release this second transcript to me. I had requested the transcript and gotten a WRITTEN CONFIRMATION from my undergrad school by the end of July, which was when I should have been receiving my graduate transcript.

But no.

When I called in August, the secretary said she had not received my transcript. "Did you have them send it to my office?" she asked.

"I don't know," I said, "I just had them address it to the admissions people."

"Then it's probably floating around the campus somewhere," she sighed.

"Then why don't you get off your butt and find it?" I replied (in my head).

She said to call back in a few weeks to see if she had received it yet, so I did.


So I waited some more. Still no transcript.

You have to have your licensing in order by a certain date, and that date was getting pretty close, and I was getting pretty desperate. Also? Angry.

So I sent a transcript request to my school by express mail, with another express envelope enclosed by which they could send the transcript to this new school--which I will never never attend again even if they offer the easiest and cheapest classes in the whole world, with God as my witness.

I called to confirm the receipt of the second transcript Monday, and the secretary, whom I will call Sal, did not have it. So I--even though this could have and should have been accomplished by Sal--called like EVERY OFFICE IN THE ENTIRE SCHOOL to ask if they had my transcript. The Graduate School admissions office had it, and I asked if they could please send it to Sal. "Yes, she's right downstairs; I'll take it right now," this secretary said.

Did you get that? DOWNSTAIRS. So it's not like this is a huge school with 100,000 students and a sprawling campus with thousands of employees.

So then I called Sal back and asked if she could please send my transcript to me now. "We don't have your transcript request," she said. I believe I turned purple at this point.

"Give me your fax number; I'll send it within the next five minutes," I said. This was around 2:30.

I sent the fax--it was one page, all the info was neatly typed and my signature was scrawled right across the bottom.

When I got home that day, I had a message from my dad. "Call Sal; she said something about a fax." It was 4:25.

When I called, she said, "Your fax came in, but I only got the cover sheet."

"I only sent one page."

"Well, the top says 'Transcript Request' but there's nothing else one it."

"Okay, I'm going to fax you another one RIGHT NOW because I need that transcript."

"I'm walking out the door right now, so it won't go out until tomorrow," she replied.

I cut off that phone call quickly, before I remembered all the swear words my daddy used to say. That made me SO MAD!! I had told her--had BEEN telling her--for MONTHS how much I needed that transcript, how I could lose my job if I didn't have it, how I had sent them TWO from my undergrad by now, how I had filled out a request already, and clearly it was much more important that she leave on the stroke of 4:29 p.m. than to help me KEEP MY JOB.

I was already composing a nasty letter to her supervisor in my head.

So Tuesday morning I faxed the request again and called to confirm its receipt. It was 9:00 a.m., and SHE HAD NOT CHECKED HER FAXES YET. She had gotten it, though, and I asked her very sweetly to send it by priority mail to my school so I could take it right to my board of ed. and get everything squared away. (I had also written this on the faxed request).

I did not get the transcript Wednesday.

Thursday, the assistant principal came to me and asked about the transcript. I had kept her apprised of the goings-on, and I told her I thought the transcript should be arriving that day. If it didn't, well ... I'd be working down at Wal-Mart, probably.

I called Sal to confirm that she had sent it by express mail. "Oh, yes, I sent it Tuesday."

"Do you have a tracking number?" I asked.

"No, I dropped it off at the campus mail center and asked them to send it."

Well, this had disaster written all over it.

I called my post office to ask if there was a package addressed to me. Nope.

So that is how I began my one-day road trip across the state to a university I'd never been to before, to pick up a transcript in person from Sal, who said, "Please remember that I leave promptly at 4:30, so you need to be here before then." Clearly, this university is doing its best keep costs down by NOT HAVING ANY STUDENTS.

I made a four-hour trip in just three hours, and upon coming to the exit for the university, noticed that there were no signs advertising this school. Odd, because there are signs all over the Metropolis that point out where the state school is, plus EVERY OTHER UNIVERSITY I KNOW OF at least has a sign that says "XXXXXX University, Next Exit." Nope.

Even in the town, WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS, there was no sign that said "Stupidhead University ----->"

It's like the school wants to maintain a secret identity, like it's training CIA agents or something, and the fate of the world rests on its anonymity.

I stopped at a gas station to ask for directions, finally, and after 30 minutes, FINALLY located the school, only to find that there were no identifiers on the buildings, and no campus map anywhere, so obviously I was supposed to go into EVERY BUILDING and say, "Does Sal work here?"

Finally I found her, and she gave me my transcript, and I looked at her desk and here is what I saw:


I didn't say anything right then, but within the course of about one-half of a second, I almost lost the following:

My Christianity
My femininity
My southern...osity

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND, to top it all off, on Friday, I checked my mailbox, and I had received the transcript I requested by fax on Tuesday; it had been delivered FRIDAY, not by UPS, not by FedEx, not by USPS Priority, BUT BY REGULAR MAIL.

So this is what I think: I was raised to be polite. To believe people in authority. To trust that people are going to do what they say they're going to do. That you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That if you're nice to others, they'll be nice to you. That patience is a virtue.


From now on, I'm gonna be a mean old biddy with a salty disposition and a sailor's mouth. I'm gonna bend people to MY will and make people do what I say and cause a fuss and make a stink and, in general, be a crank, but a crank who GETS THINGS DONE.


Oh, no I'm not.


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