austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Try thinking more if just for your own sake

Despite all the weekend's activity and the late bedtime and need to rise early Monday I don't remember being tired on getting up. Probably it's a matter of how exciting it is to have interesting things to do. At least they were interesting for me; bunny_hugger had four class sections to teach, and I wanted to come see her classes. She'd suggested I could stay home, but I miss college campuses and I like being with her. She did point out that so many of her students bring laptops to take notes, by which they mean mess around online, that I could bring mine and do as I liked without it standing out. So we set out, me in my grown-up clothes like what I wear to work, with my laptop in my bag, and we went to a friend with whom she carpools for the long drive up to campus.

bunny_hugger teaches in the part of campus built in the Post-Sputnik Panic style, so it felt a lot like the math and physics buildings at Rutgers despite being in the humanities departments. bunny_hugger wondered about where there might be older parts of campus, something dating to the 1920s or earlier, and her carpool partner averred that there was one, they just didn't have much reason to get over that way. What really caught my eye was that the student newspaper there is a broadsheet, which didn't strike bunny_hugger as unusual. Rutgers and Rensselaer had tabloids and I was always jealous of the graphic design potentials that a wider page would offer. Too bad. But I got to see her office, and the maps to amusement parks, and the bookshelves, and the computer, and all the bits of her modest and admittedly windowless office.

Her classes included a mix of topics which she and I had talked about a couple of times, actually, in part because of a video she was showing to two of them --- featuring a clip from The Colbert Report --- and in part because of the study of a particular historical case of lifeboat ethics. (It was while discussing that case I learned she hadn't heard of rather infamous science fiction argument-starter ``The Cold Equations''.) I also discovered that not so many people had brought laptops in as would be normal, apparently, so while I got some work done in programming for the paper I plan to write out this month, I felt sheepish about having the computer out yet and put it away, although I did a little work by pen and paper which didn't get anywhere.

For lunch bunny_hugger usually would just have some granola bars or tea, but since we hadn't really eaten breakfast we went to a proper lunch instead. It turned out that time of day --- close to 3 pm, actually --- not all the food stalls were open, as big a surprise to her as to me. But she found sushi, and I found a sandwich, and I managed to spill an enormous puddle of soda over my tray by the time we found a seat. I mopped it up and ... the puddle returned. And again. I was going through napkins and soda pretty speedily.

I wasn't quite so inept at handling a cup of soda as I thought. What I was inept at was getting a soda cup which didn't have a hole in it. With a replacement cup, the leaking stopped, and I was able to finish lunch with just a hefty pile of damp, sticky napkins covering my tray. I don't know how these things happen.

I felt invigorated by being back on a campus, and seeing a class even if I wasn't teaching it and it wasn't really near my specialty. Unfortunately I didn't have the chance to find the mathematics department, wherever that is, and badger them into giving me an interview, but that would probably have been a bit much to expect from cold-calling them.

Despite the fun of the day, on the ride back between the relative lateness of the hour --- it got past 11 --- and being in the back seat and the long drive and the slightly cool temperature --- I tend toward setting my car's heater on `stun', while other drivers tend to more reasonable levels --- and all I got to nodding off. But that was just a problem of sitting still for too long a while, and back at bunny_hugger's home I perked right back up. bunny_hugger wasn't quite so well off, as she was coming down with the clear symptoms of skylerbunny's California Plague. So despite the chance we didn't get to see the Michigan State Tree that night, but we promised each other we'd get to it soon.

That night, I discovered I'd made a terrible oversight.

Trivia: In the 1890s commercial fishermen annually harvested four million shad from the Delaware River. Source: The Founding Fish, John McPhee.

Currently Reading: Baseball Before We Knew It: A Search For The Roots Of The game, David Block. I'm honestly shocked to learn the whole ``baseball comes from rounders'' idea is laughably untenable. I'm not sure if I'm ready to accept the alternate hypothesis, which I admit has some faint appealing features, that baseball comes from the earlier English game of base-ball. Also I would not have guessed, waking up this morning, that before the day was over I would learn that General Abner Doubleday died believing in Hinduism, nor that the assigning of credit for baseball to him (who had nothing to do with it) may have been the indirect result of Madame Helena Blavatski and her Theosophical Society. Who would guess such a link?

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