Monday, February 09, 2009

The Buffoonery Chronicles

edit: now with a custom built LOL illustration ...
Sometimes the purpose of your life is to provide blog fodder--in this way, the worst days, the most incredibly ill-starred days, become not cosmic proof of the Great Being's disdain or your own fundamental unworthiness, but rather material, so that even in the middle of a miserable experience, a wee tiny part of it is already being redeemed, spun into some wryly funny little something to make teh Internets laugh.

I hope.

Today, project Grace / Dignity / Buffoonery-Diminution went off the rails again. It wasn't so much that the insomnia hit or that we all got up 45 minutes late or that I skipped my shower. That all turned out pretty much okay. I still look fairly professional and I don't think I smell bad; Pynchon dropped me off at work on time; Munchkin was happy.

When I got into my office, I slipped into my high heels and felt pretty good. I had 20 minutes to spare before a graduate workshop I was leading with a colleague. I had a coffee in hand, and notes prepared. It was movie day in my undergrad class and project day in my night class. Little did I know this moment--put on shoes, take sip of coffee, reflect smugly on preparedness--was to be the high point of my day. I would have enjoyed it more.

1. Cosmic Buffoonery 1: one student showed up for the workshop, 15 minutes late. He seemed to feel sorry for us. Presenters outnumber attendees. This poor showing was a double blow, as I am the organizer of the series. Niiiiice. Okay, a triple blow: my real teaching doesn't start on Monday until 2:30--but it goes until 9pm, so now I had set myself up for a 12 hour day on campus, coming in 5 hours early for very little purpose.

Ha. Ha-ha. Ha.

2. Cosmic Buffoonery 2: now that I had five hours to kill before class, I retreated to my office to work on my prep. But my peace was not to last. You see, they are reroofing the building now (and for the coming four months!) and this seems to involve a lot of tar. I should know: they've set up the huge tar boiling and pumping machine directly below my second-floor office window. Hooray! I can barely see out the window for the smoke and I spend a good deal of time meditating on the question of whether the smell or the noise is worse: it smells like, well, burning tar. It sounds like the inside of an airplane at takeoff. I think my headache might be attributable, really, to either cause so this is merely a mental exercise I use to ensure my cognitive capacity is not yet irreparably compromised. Every now and again, they hoist something from the ground (boards, buckets, roofing paper) up to the roof, and it swings and veers in my peripheral vision before banging against the window.

I would complain about it, but the alternative is likely that the roofers will simply sheet over my window with plywood, and then it will be, in addition to loud and smelly, dark.

(Is this a little bit funny? I'm trying ...)

3. Cosmic Buffoonery 3: the good news is that class-time finally came, and I got to leave my smelly, noisy office. The bad news is that the class is across the hall from said office, and just as smelly/noisy. The worse news is that a weekend melt had revealed structural weaknesses in the re-roofing that resulted in, um, FLOODING. The carpet was squishy, the multimedia console was covered in plastic garbage bags duct-taped to the cabinet, and there were giant recycling bins scattered willy-nilly around the room, half-filled with brackish water and chunks of fallen, disintegrated acoustical tile. More tiles bowed dangerously and the tables were mud-splashed. There was a shop-vac on the dais. You know, where I stand when I teach.

(you can't see it, but on the whiteboard it says: "Podium Equipment Can't Be Used Electrical Hazzard [sic]")

4. Cosmic bu ...

Well, that's enough, right? Our super-competent admin team in English found me a new room and while we lost 20 minutes of class time, we did get to see most of the clips from the movies I special-ordered weeks ago from A/V.

Poor Pychon, two buildings over on the same campus as me, and on my office speed-dial, has been treated to many cranky updates. I guess I didn't make it sound quite funny enough because he has been answering the phone with increasing (and understandable) wariness. But it's funny, right! Ha, ha!

I'm in the library now, on a dinner break before my next class: away from the noise and the smells and the mold-sprouting carpets and electrocution-hazard instructor consoles. Peace and quiet and a ...

Wait. Seriously, some really angry guy just walked through the café screaming obscenities on his way down to the basement. There is what sounds like kicking and what is definitely yelling. Maybe he's just mad about the roofing fiasco too, but as the café goes quiet and people start to titter nervously and look around? Maybe I'll just take my chances in my office.

Ha. Ha ha ha. (No really, please laugh. I don't want to be just complaining all the time.)


Mimi said...

Good news! Screaming guy left without, ultimately, going postal. My day is picking up. Definitely.

Omaha Mama said...

Thanks for the update! I was a little worried there...what with the screaming guy and you obviously destined to have a bad day.
Here's what I've done lately. When I have a day like. Pretend it's like a test (I like to do well on tests) of what I am made of, or of what kind of person I REALLY am. Then, if it's really bad, I pretend there are hidden cameras and it will end up on reality t.v. if I behave badly. That usually helps me take it all in stride. ;0)

Here's hoping that you've got a better week in store than your Monday is predicting. And that you've got some sort of tasty booze waiting for you when you get home.

Beck said...

Come visit me. You're bound to be cooler than I am and there is booze.
Our high school - unairconditioned and hot as a.. hot thing - used to re-tar the roof EVERY JUNE. Oh, that was LOVELY.

ML said...

...funny! Almost. But I feel it. That long, torturous not-quite-suffering that's not worthy of its own support group; can't be redeemed for frequent flyer miles. When you start wearing one of those Michael Jackson masks from the fumes...that will be funny. Hang in there!

ML said...

...funny! Almost. But I feel it. That long, torturous not-quite-suffering that's not worthy of its own support group; can't be redeemed for frequent flyer miles. When you start wearing one of those Michael Jackson masks from the fumes...that will be funny. Hang in there!

Kyla said...


Mimi and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Patti said...

I am laughing, truly! The #2 elicited sympathy from me - I really cannot seem to inhale tar fumes, so I would have been quickly dead in your office.

But after that - FUNNY!!!!

I tend to live my life with the philosophy, "this is gonna make a great story...."


Patti said...

P.S. I had my own version of a day like this - it's chronicled here. :)

Jenifer said...

On one of our trips to Florida when I was a kid we were driving all day and finally found a place to stop for the night. We woke up to the horrid smell of burning tar and when my Mom opened the drapes (we were on the ground floor) there were several men and a huge pot of tar right outside our window on our patio.

We found a new hotel.

Hope tomorrow is a better day and yes this was totally chuckle worthy.

ewe are here said...

Doesn't sound like your week... funny but horrifying, too.

I hope it's gotten better the past few days!

kittenpie said...

Some days really are just not worth getting out of bed for, seriously. Today, my baby yelled at me all day because I dared to attempt tasks like washing a bottle to fill with milk for him, peeing, and making myself some toast so I wouldn't faint. What a bad mother I am, no? Sheesh.