Educating Nancy

In which The Author fields a ringer
in his Psychology seminar

This morning, Carys (aka Nancy Random) gave me a lift to uni. She’s just started driving again, so she’s determined to show off her car to everyone. While we were driving down, I mentioned that I had a Psychology seminar. Carys studied psychology in Swansea a few years ago.
That’s when we came up with the crazy idea of passing her off as a student and sneaking her into Gareth M.’s class. After all, with her casual clothes and her laid-back attitude, Carys is still a student at heart. Also, she wouldn’t be totally out of her depth. It would have been far less convincing if she tried to pass herself off as a student during a maths lecture or something.
We went for breakfast on campus and Carys started having second thoughts. She thought she might be escorted from the premises if she was rumbled, but I told her not to worry. We walked down to the classroom and took up a desk at the back. Dan was already there, so we started chatting as usual. He didn’t give Carys a second look. Neither did any of the others. There are so many people enrolled on this particular module that even the lecturers can’t be expected to know everyone. Also, the seminars run on various days throughout the week, with three different lecturers leading at different times.
Gareth strolled in as usual, a few minutes after 11.00, looked around at the few of us waiting for him, realised he’d forgotten his paperwork, and wandered off again. Carys had looked rather alarmed when he first walked in, but he didn’t bat an eyelid. He returned a few minutes later and handed out the sheets to us, again failing to register that he had a completely new face in his class.
To make matters even more bizarre, the exercise involved us trying to assess when young children would pass various developmental milestones. She had a head start on me. Not only has Carys studied psychology before, but she also used to work in an infants’ school. I’m obviously going to be the worst stereotype of the Victorian Parent if I ever have kids – I seem to expect far too much of children. Carys took to the exercise like a duck to water, and thoroughly enjoyed the analysis afterwards. I wish, in retrospect, she’d contributed more to the discussion.
Afterwards, we approached Stella Z., the American girl in the group, and invited her to join us in Aberdare for a night out some time soon. She seems to be fun, and has some weird preconceptions about the Welsh that I’m sure we can overturn.
I’m in the bar having lunch. Gareth’s sitting at a nearby table with one of his colleagues, and even now he hasn’t twigged that we played a ringer this morning. I might tell him next week, when we go out for an end-of-term drink.
Then again, I might not …

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