Thursday, August 16, 2012

One of those days


In the interest of forestalling any administrative problems that might stand between my graduate students and their graduation, I organized a short lunchtime meeting. Topics to be covered: deadlines,  application for graduation, final oral defense, thesis submission, tips for thesis preparation, etc.

With the idea of making the meeting more palatable, I ordered yummy sandwiches and chips. It was a relatively small order, maybe 14 sandwiches, packed in a box, 14 bags of chips, and a gallon of iced tea. Since I bicycled across the continent with everything needed to sustain me—including my knitting—and have brought entire brunches to work on my bicycle, I planned to bicycle to the sandwich shop (driving was difficult due to much construction), bungie everything to the rack, and ride back to the office.

First mistake: the one very long, flat bungie cord was not robust enough to lash down everything. I decided to push the bicycle, as the load was unstable. Twice the entire package slumped off the bike onto the pavement as I was pushing the bike. Finally got back to the office three minutes before the talk was to start.

I asked students to start eating while I changed from bicycle clothing to office attire. Two student fetched ice in a cooler.

Then, haha, I realized I hadn't printed the handout. For the first time ever in my two years here, the behemoth copier jammed. Fortunately, the unjamming instructions were easy to follow, and we were back in business.

The students are wonderful, but it seemed, in total, an exercise in futility, which I probably won't repeat.