Printing

When you are in college, you are expected to print many, many things.

Today is the deadline for two of my assignments which I needed printed; a monologue and a page confirming I had taken a certain survey. Waking up too early and not being able to go back to sleep, I decide it’s a good a time as any to stop procrastinating and actually go to the tech building and print my things, you know, before it got to be fifteen minutes before my four consecutive classes.

I love the tech building. It’s lovely. It’s a brand new building and it has that Brand New Building smell. It’s got the fastest wifi on campus and a room full of state-of-the-art computers dedicated to serving those who do not have their own computers and/or printers. There are comfy chairs and outlets all along the wide halls that provide the perfect place for people like me; people who would prefer their dorm over the outside world but are trying to escape the judgmental eyes of their room mate(s) who have already branded them the “not-social-and-spends-too-much-time-online” kind of person. It is also quiet except between class changes, as though it were a library. (Alternately, the library is also a wonderful place to sit and do computer things, but often someone is playing their music or movie on their tablet too loud, despite the fact that it is a library and the Universal Law of Libraries is “Shut the Fuck Up.”)

So going to the tech building was not a huge ordeal to me. It was actually kind of pleasant, despite the fact that I had to get dressed and cart my 10-pound laptop all the way across campus. I sit down at a computer connected to the printer, pull the things I need out of my drop box, and set them to print. I head back to the printer room and await my documents.

Two men, about in their 30s and a bit large, are fussing with the printer. It seems it is printing the same page over and over again, along with smudging the ink and jamming the paper. This was not the first time I had come to the printing room and there had been an issue with the printer. It was not uncommon. I was suddenly very glad I came early.

A girl who was in my acting class waited with me while the nice gentlemen tried their hardest to fix the printer. We talk for a little bit and I enjoy the smell of the printer room because the smell of warm printer paper and ink makes me comfortable for some reason.

This woman, late 30s, comes flying into the room, past myself and the other girl and the two men trying to fix the printer. She lets out a half-hearted “excuse me” and goes to the pile of paper (all of the same page) the men had been coaxing out of the printer. She rifles through them, realizes they aren’t hers, and turns to the one man who is pulling a few more papers out of the printer and looking at them. She looks offended.

“Are those yours?”

He kind of looks at her funny and goes “yeah, these are mine.” She huffs and waits for a few more moments of printer fixing before going “Jesus Christ” and rushing back to her computer.

Like, okay. What part of us standing around in the printer room didn’t signify that we are all waiting for things? Rocket science, I swear.

So the men fuss with the finicky machine some more and we wait and hope that it will work. A few moments later, I blink, and the woman has again pushed past everyone to the printer and is waiting for her document to print. She did this just as the two men pulled out the giant ink cartridges from both the printer that is on and is not on and are switching them. I don’t know what isn’t clear about these printers are not functioning properly to her, but she’s not getting the message.

She waits for another moment or so, shoots off a small string of profanities, and hurries back to her computer. I go back to mine because hey, I don’t see any point in waiting around for two sheets of paper that I will get later whether I am standing up or sitting down. As it turns out, I am sitting opposite the irate woman, who is now copy pasting furiously into a new document and trying to print it, all the while muttering under her breath. She even shoots me a look like this is all my fault.

This is when I realize she is reprinting all of her documents. All of them. At this university, we get a limited number of pages to print each semester. And she is burning through them because she thinks printing them again will make them print ahead of everyone else’s.

I don’t know what this woman is printing but she’s acting like it’s the new Declaration of Independence and Nick Cage will be here any minute to take it from her.

I hope she is content with her three or more copies, that way she can keep one for herself and give one to both Mr. Cage and a friend.

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