She sat in a corner of Border's, her laptop mute and barely touched. Her expression was that of need and every time her phone buzzed, she jumped on it, only to hang up with soft disappointment.
I waited out her lonely half an hour then said to her: "That's what you get for misbehaving."
"Oh no," she said immediately, "I'm trying to do a test."
I had to ask.
Turns out it was a 50-question (40 multiple-choice, 10 True/False) History of Puerto Rico test, college-level. As I perused it, I noticed only 5 questions had been answered, the rest had checkmarks and blank spaces. "It's due tomorrow," she said. "We've had it for two weeks and nobody's been able to answer it."
Two weeks. History of Puerto Rico. A university student. Like I had a choice.
I asked her to copy the test to my USB drive. Without prompting, she included her e-mail and name.
Bottom line: I started at midnight and sent her a completed test around 2:58 a.m. I used Google and a 7th grade History of Puerto Rico text published in 1959. I expect to score at least 46 and maybe up to 49, depending on the teacher's bias in a couple of subjective questions concerning the Puerto Rico of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Was--am--I showing off? Damn straight. How could I not? Here's a supposedly well-prepared (came from private schools) college student who when a friend of Mine told her she could get plenty of information on Puerto Rican history at the Luis Muñoz Marín Foundation, she gave a weak smile and asked "Do they have a website?" I told her the library had plenty of books and no website.
Two weeks. And a two-day extension. Some thirty students in the course. And this young lady sat in a crowded bookstore cafeteria--a bookstore WITH books on Puerto Rican history--waiting for the answers to drop into her laptop.
Tying off some loose ends: Her name is Nathalie, she's a student at a San Juan university campus and the course title is History 212.
Let's hear it for higher education in Puerto Rico!!
The Jenius Has Spoken.