Friday, November 07, 2008

More on Dr. D and others

It seemed inevitable that I would develop a crush on my professors. Not all of them, just some of them. Not necessarily the good-looking ones, or even the brilliant ones, just the ones that let me see beyond their "professorly" personas. In my first year of university, I found Dr. W irresistibly charming. Mind you, he was old enough to be my father, yet there was something about his manner. He was filled not only with wit, but also with great gentleness. I discovered some wonderful works of literature in his class, including one of my favourite plays of all time, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. I never thought of Dr. W as a particularly effective teacher, but he was patient. I would end up following him, taking his Medieval Studies class the next year. I did superbly in the class, but I found it incredibly dull. People could tell me that I could treat history as stories, as literature, only more fascinating because the events actually happened. I've heard that plenty of times, but give me a novel, a play, a poem any day over anything non-fiction. I love telling people that Dr. W's name means "devil." He never actually told me that, but I found that out from reading The Master and Margarita.  The name seemed oddly fitting, and I absolutely loved it because it was just the perfect irony.

In my second year, I was head-over-heels in love with Dr. B.  It was the kind of love that a kindergartener might develop for her teacher, the all-knowing and all-wonderful being. Dr. B taught the most challenging literature course I had ever taken. The thoughts and ideas she would fling at us were lightning-quick and just plain brilliant. She was a young professor, someone whom I admired so much. I hung onto her every word. Her course remains the class upon which I look most fondly to this day. Dr. B had a mystery about her, even though she was so open about discussing anything, literature-related or otherwise. She always dressed in black, and ran all the fundraising events around town despite her asthma fits. If I were going to be a scholar, I would want to be someone like Dr. B.

My final years at UBC were rather uninteresting. There was Dr. P, yes, who told such fanciful tales, the only things worth going to his classes for. But no, I didn't find anyone to compare to Dr. W or Dr. B.  Until now....

I had mentioned Dr. D in my last post, he of the orange shoes. Well, I went to see him today in his office. There were mounds and mounds of papers everywhere. His ancient computer was propped up by some ancient books. When I walked in to talk to him about my term paper, I scanned the room, and in that moment, it was my favourite room in the whole wide world. I loved the big wooden table, the journals and books and papers strewn across it and every surface, the post-its stuck by the computer monitor. It was a room reflecting a mind at work, a mind in the process of delving into some mystery, some passion, something that might seem trivial, but that means the world to someone. I can complain about his class just as much as the rest of my classmates, but I just have to love Dr. D for his shoes and his office. I have no choice in the matter.


  1. You are too funny! "I can complain about his class just as much as the rest of my classmates, but I just have to love Dr. D for his shoes and his office. I have no choice in the matter."...I almost HEAR those two sentences in Anne Shirley's voice! (And that is a COMPLIMENT! She is my favorite fictional character!)

  2. I remember you talking about Dr. W., and you almost took old English in order to follow him another year!