“The Tea’s Always Cold.” A Look Inside White Table

Five girls sit at the small round table, surrounded by Toblerone chocolates and Pre-calculus textbooks in various stages of decay.  

At the corner table, Zoie quietly talks herself through pre-calc problems. When she checks the back of the book, she finds her answers are correct, and mutters: “hooray.”

Jim jumps from helping two girls with an online VTVLC math quiz, back to another pair struggling with the pre-calc homework.

Jim is a legend among U-32 students, a friendly supportive face who is always there in times of need. And today is no exception.


“Zoie needs help,” Zoie says without turning her eyes away from her impossible pre-calc problem. “I’m being called away,” Jim says to the two VTVLC girls, dancing away.

“It’s this stinkin’ 24!”

“It’s false! Everyone knows that 24 is false!” Jim says loudly with a delighted smile on his face, as he pulls up a chair.

“A Computer image, I don’t care about that,” Jim mumbles, reading the question. “To simulate an approaching vehicle. Oh, so we have this car in here.”

He grabs a piece of scrap paper.

“Those seven years of art school are finally paying off,” Jim laughs, starting to draw a car.

“Looks more like an airplane,” he says. “Here’s how you know it’s a car: it’s honking its horn.”  He draws rough lines around its hood.

The third-period bell rings and heavy metal blares through the speakers. Zoie sighs as she reluctantly stands up from her chair.

“Pre-calc is meaningless,” Zoie says, exasperated.

“That’s why pre-calc was invented, to be meaningless,” Jim says. He heads back to his desk for a quick tea break, before the next wave of struggling students.

“The problem with this job is the tea’s always cold.”

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