It had been a rough day down at District 29. The todos were longer than the time in which to do them. There was a convention in town for prospective students of the 3 local colleges. And while this may have excited a newbie, James knew exactly what it meant. He had been there before. It meant that he would be losing sleep for the next week and most likely come out if all with barely enough recruits to meet his quota, which had been lowered each year because of the trend towards online education.
Kids that were growing up on the net were starting to gravitate towards the net for their schooling options. Some high schools were even being threatened with closing due to this new trend. There seemed to be something quite mysterious about it, but James just told himself many times that it was nothing. No one seemed in the office to care that there appeared a growing likelihood that if things kept up at this pace most of them would be out of jobs in two to three years.
It was not until he found a slip of paper under the windshield wiper of his car that he was able to break from the trance that seemed to enslave all the others. James had grabbed the paper at first, crumpling it up as he had many other advertisements in this tri college town. “Let me wash your windows.” “I can teach you math.” “Dance tonight, biggest of the decade!” He had just assumed it was one more of those papers. But glancing down at a stoplight on the way to the office he saw two words that caught his eye, Online University.
He felt the blood boiling. It had actually been slow and steady churning of 3 long years of seeing this trend take over his job security. His worry now showed in his face, the lines going deeper with each passing month. But the culmination of this frustration seemed to hit right at this moment with the sight of those words. It was the spark that threw his moldering ashes of anxiety into a full fledged fire of aggression.
He was just about to hit something when the light turned green. He drove, but this time it was not to the office. There was something that took control of the wheel and led him to a nearby cemetery he had gone to many times when seeking quiet in a world of noise. He didn’t know anyone buried in this graveyard, but he still found something captavating and calming about being there. He pulled into a stall near the utility shed, grabbed the paper tight in his hands and started towards the large shade tree near the back of the cemetery.
Now sitting at the base of the tree where he had spent many hours in focused thought he loosened his grip on the paper that had put him over the edge. He unfolded the little scrap and read it in its entirety, “Online University Seeking Prospective Students.” To most it would not have been anything spectacular or alarming. He read it over and over again. Then the thing that had snapped inside of him calmed. The feeling changed from one of resentment to one of excitement.
He had not seen it before, but with everyone in the office and district clinging so tightly to keeping things the same they had missed something. This was the future. And James now knew he was to be a part of it. Someone had moved his cheese, but he was off to find more.