Diversions. Another form of procrastination. And in case anyone didn’t know, I am the Queen of Procrastination.

Saturday, I took a day off my revision version of Nano to proctor the written exam for Pittsburgh police recruits. I’d done this a couple of years ago and found it interesting, so I agreed to do it again.

I arrived at the convention center at 8:30 in the morning and joined other bleary-eyed proctors setting up the room for the testing. I was assigned to section G and pretty much knew from past experience that my section wouldn’t fill up. But we still had to go through the motions. Label the tablecloth with section-row-seat numbers. Lay out cardstock, answer sheets, test booklets, and pencils. Other important tasks involved stuff like locating the restroom. Always a vital piece of information.

We had our orientation at 9:30. And at 10:00, we positioned ourselves by our assigned tables and the doors opened to the recruits.

Roughly one thousand aspiring police officers promenaded into the hall and took their seats. As expected, section G didn’t fill up. Neither did sections E or F. So while the recruits received their instructions, we proctors collected all the materials we’d just laid out and received our new assignments. I was moved to section B, where I worked as an extra, wandering around the entire section or filling in for proctors who were taking breaks. I also acted as go-fer for the section supervisor.

The main task of a proctor is to simply walk around their assigned tables to make sure no one cheats. We’re not allowed to answer any questions about the test. It’s a lot of walking. And it’s a great chance to observe people.

There is no one kind of person who takes this step toward becoming a cop. My favorite part of the proctoring gig is trying to imagine each of the test-takers in uniform. Some of the guys looked like they could step right into the role. Many of them appeared to be ex-military.

But then there was the Goth Girl with all the funky jewelry and tats. Or the pretty petite blonde, although she could have passed for J.J. on Criminal Minds. For that matter, Goth Girl might have been going for the Abby (NCIS) look.

One guy in particular was dressed in a sharp looking suit and tie, complete with expensive-looking watch and shoes. I was thinking, forget about the uniform; this guy’s headed straight for the police commissioner’s office.

Most dressed toward the other end of the scale. Sweats. Some cargo shorts. Perhaps they’d fit in on the vice squad. Deep undercover.

Regardless of their attire, I wish all of them good luck. Anyone who’s willing to put their life in harm’s way to protect and serve deserves an A plus from me.

As for my page count? I have 14 more to go before Sunday to meet this week’s goal. I think I’ll make it.


Ramona said…
Wow, Annette, 1000 applicants? That makes sense--Pennsylvania is big, after all.

This is a great example of using your imagination to pass the time. And for story fodder, of course.

Great post!
Annette said…
Ramona, 1,000 was a bit of a disappointment. We were set up for over 1,900.

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