Saturday, April 4, 2009

Panic button

Have you ever had that nightmare that you forgot to show for a class, or that you somehow missed the first 16 weeks of class and now the final exam is upon you? I think such nightmares must somehow be a feature of contemporary university education because I know dozens of people--- teachers like myself--- who say they have those kinds of sweat-inducing dreams. I guess we have such anxiety about showing up for exams or being responsible academic citizens that we sublimate those worries and they show up in our nighttime machinations.

Occasionally those dreams come true, however. I had one today. Well... not a really bad one, to be sure, but a moment in which I thought (though didn't actually say) a mild obsenity. We're still NULCing it today, and the alarm clock in the hotel room went off this morning at 6:00AM. Since we'd decided to skip the first session of the day and give ourselves a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, I didn't jump right now of bed. It turns out that I should have. That darn clock was an hour behind. 

I didn't even know I was late until Kim Skeen called and said, "Where are you?" I said, "You're an hour early, friend." She said, "Look again, kiddo." I said (thought, really) "*&^%," and began dashing around throwing things into my suitcase and cinching up my tie. I rushed through the rest of my toilette and wrangled everything down to the van. 

Happily, the students had loaded everything up and were ready to go when I came breathlessly along. These even had a muffin, an apple, and a coffee cup full of OJ for me. Kim drove while I ate, and I made my session in good time. I wasn't even out of breath by the time I settled in to the chair at the front of the room.

We're between sessions now and we'll go in to the question and answer session with the featured authors. That session is often the highlight of the conference, so I'm really looking forward to it. We'll go for Chinese food after that (a place my friend Mark Brown calls "a funky dive"), and then Kim and the students will turn the nose of Moby Dick (the gigantic white van we brought) northward and head home. 

I'll join up with the family for a little R&R here in SLC. We plan to see friends from SLICC (Salt Lake Institute Concert Choir - where Keri and I met), and spend a little time with other friends too. Home again on Sunday afternoon.

It's been a nice weekend.

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