The clock and the calendar.
Are they the toughs, the bruiser henchmen, harassing on behalf of Big Bossman Life? Are they the It Couple, dominating our reality, occupying our fantasy, engaging our discourse? Do they deserve to be less — the lighting fixtures that came with the apartment? Simply the horsepower that each engine’s got?
At 1:55 am, Mom texted from Ireland that she and Dad could feel their 6-hour jetlag. 6 am, snooze. 6:09, snooze. 6:14… At 6:37 am, Vanessa texted that if she arrived after 7:30 am, I should ask Jackie for the keys. At 7:55 am, only three teachers had arrived. We started at 8:19 am, even though we’d planned to begin at 8. We decided at 10 am, which had been the session’s original stopping point, that we should continue until noon. At noon, Vanessa announced that our lunch break would be 30 minutes (originally 60 minutes, reduced at our 10 am powwow to 45, so where had she gotten 30?). After 40 minutes had passed, we decided to give it 60. The next activity took 15 minutes to explain — an unforeseen expenditure — and participants were to complete the bulk of the activity in 35 minutes, then present in the final 10. That didn’t happen.
As they collaborated to integrate various tools and toys into a new lesson plan for their discipline, I scuttled around the kitchen, covering food before it spoiled, cleaning to avoid staying (too) late. I didn’t address the revisions due on Monday.
I scheduled a conference call. If I can’t talk before 5, and Pat can’t Skype before 6, and Erin can’t talk after 6:30, and Pat is on vacation next week, and we have to know by next Friday, then when do we talk, observe, and do, since I’ll be driving to and from campus 30 minutes each way M-Th for appointments of 50-120 minutes daily (a fact I learned Monday night), as well as prepping for these obligations, and so cannot dedicate this time to the project?
In the car, Vanessa and I re-designed activities and time slots. If they start at 8:15, and each gives a five-minute overview, and we account for transition time, and then they give three 20-minute presentations, and then there’s a break and flex time for things going wrong, then we’ll have an hour before lunch…
I talked to Jenn, who uncannily brought our conversation to a close at precisely the right minute. I called Erin, who began talking about the week. “It’s 6:03,” I said. “Should I call Pat?” We talked past the appointed cut-off, discussing the nature of the commitment in terms of task and time, constructing a deadline by which to communicate.
Calling back Gramma (who had left a message while I’d been on the other line), I stepped outside to switch my laundry (well past the wash cycle’s culmination) at the exact same moment (7:19 pm) that the FedEx man wandered up, looking for apartment number-less me. What are the odds?
Gramma wished me a safe trip to New York, although I’m not leaving for another two weeks. She told me to ask Mom (Gramma would ask her herself but hasn’t the means since she’s “stuck in the 18th century”) whether Mom’s picked up an Irish brogue yet (Mom has been in-country for less than 24 hours). Finally, Gramma recommended that I let my hair return to its native state. Don’t you like curly hair? “Sure I do, Gramma. But it’s been 20 years. It’s time for a change.”
Malcolm Gladwell made much of hockey players’ birthdays. They’re self-fulfilling prophecies, you know. Tonight is Suzanne’s 30th. His is over the weekend. I am 31 and a half.
So many things to count; respectively: six months, a week and a half, 3 days, 30%.
10:43 pm. So much for going to sleep early.