I’ve been ridiculously busy. It’s not that I haven’t been this busy before, or that others aren’t equally busy, it’s that the busyness has been ridiculous in its variety. Understanding this probably requires some context and some peephole into my psyche. But that requires more pages, a memoir. So a glimpse:
On Friday I went from working on a campus symposium program to a meeting with the Dean (to talk about people who were being let go due to budget cuts, and in the same breath people we could hire, and then the future of various programs and if he could pitch in a thousand dollars) and then a meeting with the scholarship office to learn the program that awards the tuition waiver that I they didn’t bother to tell me I had to award until I asked . . .
This is too wordy. Let me begin again.
There was the edit on the program. Then the meeting with the Dean. Then the scholarship office. Then the program again, followed by coordination with building people and catering people and my secretary not being in so I couldn’t find the lunch voucher for the guest of our group discussion and I never thought in a million years I’d be saying “because my secretary isn’t in today.” Followed by the lunch discussion, in which we needed four tables instead of one, which is a good thing. Followed by finishing the edits to the program and then off to meet with lab aides to talk about the lab program and holy shit they had some interesting ideas so we’ll try something on them next time (mental note to self) followed by a lesson on soldering. Yes, with the soldering iron, and I told them the time I mistook a Tesla coil for a soldering iron.*
You may ask, Don’t you teach? Yes, and that’s where I headed next, at 2:30 on a Friday afternoon. I walked across campus again. It was snowing that spring snow that is particularly offensive because it’s supposed to be spring. This class discussion was good. And then back across campus to setup for a Saturday event, but first to help a student set up her Saturday event. And then … and then I could help another student set up his Saturday event. And then … well, I still hadn’t set up my own event for this thing we call “Science Olympiad.”
And then on Saturday there’s Science Olympiad. Another Saturday. And yes, as my friend and colleague points out, it is magic. But it’s still another Saturday. The funny thing is this: I had to finish creating the event, because I was creating the other events for the other people. Not really a big deal, I’d done this one before. My events were staggered throughout the day, which is normally a pain, but in this case it was handy because I had the 1:00 hour free. And it so happened that Anna was playing violin for an adjudication at 1:10, and I was accompanying her on the piano. So in between science events I was over in the performing arts building, playing piano with my daughter. She was beautiful, both in her dress and through her violin; I was in my Science Olympiad t-shirt playing a big Steinway. And then I hopped on my bike, threw on my helmet, and raced back to judge another science event.
It’s a little ridiculous.
The following day, today, Sunday? That’s when one is apt to buy things that simplify life, or at least give you the impression that you could simplify so much that everything you need can fit into something that straps on your back. I often think of backpacking treks fondly in the middle of the year, but during ridiculous times like these, I’m especially apt to long for a week of having clothes, food, kitchen, shelter, and a few toiletries all carried on my shoulders and hips. For now, the new pack just looks at me. It’s fitted and I’ve figured out the straps. And now it’s just waiting. Until July. Now I need to think about next week, which is now this week.
*This is a story that is only funny to a physics major. It’s really funny. It’s a mistake you only make once. Unlike the “hot beakers look the same as cool beakers” mistake. I’ve made that one twice. Or more. The “push a thermometer into a stopper and it snaps in half and gashes through your palm” mistake is another one you only make once. Okay, actually, twice. Fucking thermometer.