It was 8pm. There were about 500 of them, in 8 different venues, spread over 3 floors - taking my paper. As the "examiner", I was to walk from venue to venue to check on them, under the watch of tutors, some I'd never met. Just prior to entering the first venue, it dawned upon me that I was thoughtlessly clad in t-shirt and jeans. For the invigilators who knew me, that was fine - but for those who'd never seen me before - it happened. I ought to had expected it to (because it always did).
#1, slightly after 8pm - I walked in, gave her a courtesy smile and nod, and she smiled back. Quite well, I thought. Then she asked me "What is your venue?" There we go again. I explained that I was the lecturer - she was so embarassed, she apologised 4-5 times. It's fine, I told her, but she wasn't fine. A walk around later, she apologised again, "I'm so sorry about just now! You're so young!!" Gah! No, I said, I'm sooo not young.
#2, about 8.15pm - I peeked through the window, and saw him sitting there at the instructor's desk. Then, I carefully opened the door as noiselessly as I could, and stepped in. He shot a severe look at me, and said, rather loudly, "You're late!" Very calmly, I responded that I wasn't - I was the lecturer. The students seated there burst out in muffled laughter. I can't be sure if he apologised - I think he did. I didn't wait observe his look of embarrassment, though I am quite sure he was embarrassed, because I myself could hardly contain my laughter as I strolled past the rows of examinees. The calmness was all gone - I could hardly keep a straight face long enough to tell him to call me if there was any problems in the exam, before hurrying out of the room to laugh in the corridor! I was having abdominal spasms before I was done.
#3, about 8.30pm - I saw that he saw me (from inside the venue) talking to another lecturer outside, and I'd expected that he'd deduced I wasn't what he'd think I was. But when I walked in, he promptly took a copy of the exam paper, and was about to hand it to me when I told him I was the lecturer. And (what else) he said, "Oh I'm sorry! I thought you were a student!" Yes, I know what you're thinking. Gah!
#4, about 8.45pm - I'd be a fool of a student if I should turn up at an exam 45 minutes late, so by logic and deduction, the chances of me being a student were pretty slim. This must had been the thoughts of the young man invigilating here. I walked in - he beheld me, wide-eyed, then said "You are ........... ?" Good move! Yes, I am who you think I ought to be though I don't look it.
#5, about 8.50pm - This one was a little slow to react and I managed to introduce myself before he said or did anything. Phewww!
After the exam was over, when delivering the scripts to me, some of them apologised again for thinking that I was who I wasn't. Hey, stop saying you're sorry! I am, in fact, flattered that I could so easily pass for an 18-yr-old (ok, maybe 20-yr-old)!
The lesson learned: dress FORMAL next time! GAH!!!