I've been out of school for 20 years, yet for some reason I had to take this Computer Science exam. For no apparent reason, the exam took place in a grill bar, a greasy kind of pizza and steak joint something like a fast food restaurant without the efficiency and relative cleanliness of a MacDonald's. In fact, the tables were sticky with grease and dried gravy.

The instructor was a nice enough guy, but he fit in with the place as he stood behind the counter and explained the exam. He was also filling orders for some regular customers of the place, but for some reason none of us students got any food.

The first question was worded in a strange, incoherent way. There was some goal to accomplish, probably a small program to write, with the most important word of the mission emphasized by underlining. There was also a mimeographed sheet of additional instructions for the first question, but the beginning of all the lines was cut off, making this hard to read and understand as well.

I puzzled over the question for quite a while, intuitively noting that I had given this question far more than its share of the time allotted for the exam. I felt that some caffeine would perk me up, so I left the restaurant to get a drink.

At a nearby bar, I got a cup of Nescao, a Nestle product containing both coffee and chocolate. I met a girl there whom I knew from before. I found her vaguely attractive but we didn't really get along. In fact, we had a minor argument for a while, then I explained to her that I was in the middle of an exam and had to get back to it.

After staring at the question for many more minutes, the meaning began to sink in, and I prepared to give my answer. At this point, the instructor announced that, now that the exam was almost over and most people had finished all the other questions but skipped the first, he would give some additional information to explain the first question. I was enraged that the hard work I had put into the question was being nullified, and woke up feeling frustrated and dissatisfied in an indistinct sort of way.