To: amigo sabio <amigo firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tues, Oct 9, 2012 4:38 pm
Subject: RE: hope you’re doing fantastically!
I can’t wait to get back home and catch up with you next week. This assignment has been a disaster. There was no way I was going to make it through 18 weeks. After five, this earthling said See ya.
I was honored by the school’s invitation, but that was before I got here. The head of the Intergalactic Communications Department promised a lot of things, but details obviously got lost in translation. She told me the beings I’d teach were the equivalent of Earth freshmen. I can’t tell the age of the life forms here, but the ones in my classroom were definitely recently spawned, still slimy and mewling. I could tell right away they had never interacted with earthlings, the way they avoided eye contact and jabbered non-stop in their little rat sounds. Can you imagine, stuck in a room with 36 of them, their squeals gnawing at you for hours?
I remember distinctly that it was supposed to be half that amount in the class, but the department head insisted that 18 on Earth is equivalent to 36 on their planet. And the amount they pay me is in their currency, which makes me a millionaire here but wouldn’t pay for a gallon of gas on Earth.
Maybe it wasn’t right to blow up at my students yesterday. They need to look at their hand-held devices in class because those things must translate everything I say in real time. It’s not their fault that the devices look just like smart phones on Earth. I lost it, though, when I saw all 36 faces twitching and glowing in the light of the screens. It’s a good thing they were looking at me and not their devices when I yelled some choice Earth obscenities at them. I don’t know if there are equivalents in their language for disillusioned, disgusted, underpaid, or menopausal. Maybe the screens of their hand-held devices displayed rows of unsmiley faces.
I went straight to my room at the foreign faculty residences and booked my return trip to Earth. I haven’t opened any of the messages from the department head. It doesn’t matter what she has to say. I’m on the first space shuttle out of here. I’m sure that translates into any language.