Knock. Knock. “Professor, can I borrow your electric water pot? I need that one for the academic conference this afternoon. I have one big coffee pot in my professor’s office, but I think we will need extra ones to meet the demands of visitors coming from other colleges.”
He was working on a critical thesis when he was interrupted by the unexpected visit from his colleague’s teaching assistant. He has suffered from the critical paper for almost a month. He couldn’t find any logical agenda on the literary project he was supposed to finish within two weeks. “The best paper,” he tried to recall what his old professor once said into his mind, “is the one handed in on time.” He hasn’t ever felt the frequent visits from his neighbors were bothering or a nuisance. That afternoon, however, was different. He was all attention to his paper, so that a slight irritation was enough trigger to explode his irksome body and mind. What other reactions can you expect but a strong and immediate “No”?
The graduate student looked startled at the sudden response. He has heard his professor repeat Smokie’s “Living Next Door to Alice” whenever he mentions about his close relationship with the male Alice living next door. How could that Alice negate to supply his old friend with a minimal favor!
It didn’t take more than ten minutes when the Alice was interrupted by thunderous
knocks. Before he responded to the unwelcoming noise, the door burst out. It was him. The one who would mutter Smokie, not the whole words but only the parts repeating “living next door to Alice.” He shouted with no patience. “Explain this to me. Logically and reasonably. What is the use of that water jug? How can you return my teaching assistant with nothing but disappointed faces? You’re asking me tons of favors, big and small. However, you refuse to pay back even a little when they are charged. Answer me if you can. Here and now.”
He was so overwhelmed that he was absent-minded for a while. “Why didn’t you come and ask yourself rather than sending your student? That might look more persuasive and urgent. I’d have no reasons at all to let you have the electric pot. It is your hot temper that caused all these nonsenses. Unplug it. You don’t have to return it to me. Keep it all your life.”
Without leaving a word, the Smokie pal disappeared like a smoke. And ever since the Saturday afternoon, Alice and his neighbor have stopped talking each other.
By Prof. Rho Heon-gyun
Professor, Faculty Advisor
Dept. of English Lang.&Lit.
Prof. Rho Heon-gyun Professor, Faculty Advisor, Dept. of English Lang.
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