À mon avis
In my opinion
Moira Farr is a writer, editor
and journalism teacher
at Carleton University and
The last memo she
by Moira Farr
here isn’t much time. Please know I did
everything I could to stop the madness. I
admit I should have acted sooner, when I
first heard what sounded like a cry of
agony from a colleague’s office, hours ago
I have tried to inform the authorities, but the
phone in my classroom does not allow outgoing
calls, the Internet is down and, according to the
recorded message from security, my emergency
protocol PIN code is invalid. I thought it was the
same as my employee number, but apparently
not. I also tried my own secure network login
password but that did not work either. I hear
shouts and running now – I think security knows
we have a problem.
I have evacuated my students, though many
had questions: Will the assignment instructions
be posted online? Did you get my special accommodations form? Could you write me a reference
letter? Can I opt out of my sports-centre fees?
Where do I go for a tuition refund?
And of course, why are our professors turning
into flesh-eating zombies?
For that, I have no answer. Soon, I may be one
I am in the faculty office and have blocked
the entry with a stack of boxes containing the
new Privacy Act forms to be filled out by each
student in each course, then recorded by faculty
via the new online student tracking system
(there’s no way to lock the door as the key I was
issued for this office at the beginning of term
does not appear to be the right one). Oh dear god,
I can hear my undead colleagues on the other
side, moaning, rattling the knob, shoving against
the door. I don’t know why; after all, they must
know the office printer has a paper jam and the
photocopier is out of ink.
Speaking of keys, I am leaving the console
key for the classroom computers here, so you can
pass it on to the computing systems department.
Last year, I received 37 email reminders to return
it in the three days after the semester ended, so
I know they want it back, badly.
Also, should you be using Classroom 172A in
N Building (Note: not 172N in A Building – a mistake you will regret on the first blizzardy day of
class – you know that N is on the exact opposite
end of campus from A), the screen may cause
injury if you try to pull it all the way down. Don’t
bother, as the projector is not working anyway,
unless you bring a special hook-up extension cord
– you can sign one out at computing systems, but
make sure it’s both Mac and PC compatible. (I
didn’t and had to make several trips back and
forth.) You then need to make sure the input and
output modes on the console are set properly. It
may involve HTML. Or something. One of the
students figured it out for me. I ask that you return
this cord, along with the console key.
Finally, please inform parking services that I
did try to pay that ticket. Ah, that blizzardy
January afternoon, I remember it well. The
parking-lot machine kept saying my credit card
was un-readable. Luckily I had toonies, though
it took some time to get them all down the
machine’s gullet, for it seemed not to like toonies.
I almost said “F*%# it”, but at last a receipt ground
its way out of the slot. Late as I was (little know-
ing the fun was just beginning, as I confused N
and A buildings), I threw the ticket onto the dash-
board – so I thought! Apparently, as I sprinted
away the tiny tag of paper fluttered fatefully to
the floor, invisible to roaming attendants …
Alas, when I called to pay up (do you think I
would put myself through the hours of bureau-
cratic mayhem it would take to convince
someone I’d actually paid? No sir, I judge it worth
$35 to avoid all that!), my “violation” hadn’t yet
been recorded on the system. The clerk said, Call
next week. I did. But the system wouldn’t recog-
nize my employee number – I was put on hold
for, oh, quite some time, before being informed
that it wasn’t my employee number I needed, but
a parking account number, which the clerk then
issued to me. Sadly, that number didn’t work
either. I was told to call a week later.
It may not happen now. Though it was never
on my bucket list.
They have breached the boxes, I must …
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