Random Thoughts While Invigilating an Exam

The students have 2 hours to write a 200-word essay for 40 marks. Every 5 words is worth 1 mark. A student needs to write one word every 36 seconds in order to finish exactly in 2 hours.

I was entertaining the idea of writing another 50,000-word novel during National Novel Writing Month (November) this year, like I did last year. However, I didn’t. I couldn’t commit to writing 1667 words per day for 30 days, 69 words per hour, or about 1 word per minute.

I bought a 16-pound turkey for Thanksgiving. I plan to debone it. That’s about 1 pound of the turkey’s weight. I plan to stuff the turkey as well. So, I should cook the stuffed 15-pound turkey for four hours at 325°F/160C— three hours covered and one hour uncovered to crisp the skin. Then the turkey needs to rest for about 30 minutes. There will be about ten dinner guests, so everyone can eat 1.5 pounds of turkey.

1621 was supposedly the year of the first official American Thanksgiving. That means there have been 399 American Thanksgivings. The first official Canadian Thanksgiving was 1879. That means there have only been 141 Canadian Thanksgivings. 

Thanksgiving is in the middle of cuffing season, the period during the autumn and winter months where finding a boyfriend or girlfriend is suddenly a lot more appealing to be paired up for the colder months. Studies have shown that physical coldness activates a need for psychological warmth. Better start checking the Bumble dating app more than my ESPN Fantasy Football app.

If I match with a woman on Bumble who is 38 to 41 years old, and she says that she still wants kids someday, that means she expects us to date for about 10-12 months. Then if we get married, that might be at least another 12 months, depending on when she wants to have the wedding and the amount of planning involved. After the wedding, if we’re lucky, we might have our first child in about 9-12 months. I ain’t ready to be a father again in 36 months, Bumble wife! But what if I’m saying no to a possible soulmate?

The internet says that the chance of finding your soulmate is 1 in 10,000, or a 0.010 percent chance. If I went on a date with a different person each week, I would have to date for the next 192 years in order to have the chance of meeting my soulmate.  Still, the chances of finding my soulmate is considerably better than winning a six-number lottery. The probability matching all numbers is 1 in 13,983,816.

If I had a million dollars (after taxes), and I lived to about 80 years old (or another 36 years), I could spend $27,000 of it a year. That’s like making $14.50 an hour and working 40 hours per week for the rest of my life. Suddenly, a million dollars doesn’t sound like a windfall. I don’t think Bumble wife would be happy if I only made $27,000 a year. Doesn’t seem to fit into her plans. Maybe I’m better off getting a dog.

My friend adopted a saluki. When I leave Doha, I might take a saluki or two home with me. Salukis are quick. They can run 43 mph over distances more than half a mile. A saluki can run a mile in a minute and 24 seconds, or half a mile in 42 seconds. That’s a fast dog!

Despite the unlikelihood of me ever winning the lottery, I received good news this month: I will be paid my travel allowance from the summer with this month’s salary. The amount is calculated by the cost of refundable round trip tickets from Doha, Qatar to closest international airport near our designated hometown—which is Chicago, IL for me. This comes out to about $3000 for me. If I were married with two kids, my summer allowance would be about $12,000 every year. Bumble wife might be happy with this.  

Yet, Bumble wife and her desire to have kids clashes with my goal of visiting 50 countries before I turn 50. Because of coronavirus, the number of countries I visited stalled at 20. If I am still able to travel twice a year for the next six years, I will need to visit five countries every year. If it were up to me, I would rather visit 50 countries than be a father again unable to reach my travel watermark.

The average age of becoming a grandparent is 50 years for women and a couple of years older for men. That means in the next six to eight years, I might be a grandfather.

If I could be a grandfather at 50, visit 50 different countries, and have my dog that runs half a mile under 50 seconds, I would be happy never crossing paths with my soulmate or hitting all six numbers on the lottery ticket. I just need to finish this 2 hour exam invigilation and get on with it.

Before the students can complete their essay, they must write 200 words. Before they write 200, they must write 100. Before they can write 100, they must write 50. Before 50, 25. Before 25, 12.5. Before 12.5, 6.25. Then 3.125. Then 1.0625. And so on. Thus, exam progress is an illusion, and I will be invigilating and single for the rest of eternity.

Photo by Akshay Chauhan on Unsplash


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