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Survival of the Fittest (or Most Organized)

by Shari Dinkins

I SIT IN a departmental meeting. To my right is a woman I do not know; she is young, blonde. Sitting to her right is a young man I don’t know; he clutches a pad holder. As the head of my department talks, the young woman scratches notes at a frantic pace. The young man makes no notes. He stares at the agenda, a confused look on his face. At new business, my chair announces the new adjuncts. Four of them. The two next to me are newbies, as is a woman in the front row. When the chair announces one name, there is no response; this new adjunct is not at the meeting.

“Big mistake,” I think.

I turn to my right and shake hands with the blonde woman and the man with dark hair, who looks up from the agenda just long enough to shake my outstretched hand. She is shuffling papers later, shoving something into her tote, then taking out a class list. Her eyes run up and down the list. I want to lead her, take her by the hand and help her. Instead, I settle for a friendly smile and a nod-invite

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