Shanks 315, a Thursday afternoon, sideways rain crosshatched with 45 degree angled rain crosshatched with vertical rain crosshatched with my own break from letter writing crosshatched with a curiosity about whether this WordPress app I’ve had my my phone since forever will actually Thunder! Lightning!
Brought my umbrella, good thing. Will walk home between 5-6 after the rain has passed, good thing. App works for posting, good thing.
A Wednesday morning. 9 a.m. An hour into the day’s office hours. This is the first rainy day of the semester; high humidity makes for a muggy Equinox Eve. Soon I will pack my things and walk a GPStimated three-quarters of a mile across campus to teach my first class of the day, ENGL326: Research Writing, in which we will develop short lists of Halavaisian engine-searching precepts and then step through the setting up of Google Search Alerts via RSS.
The rain will make today’s walking sloppier–a puddle-dodging trek past the library and the science building. This is a new problem intensified (potentially) by the temporary relocation of our campus offices. On teaching days this semester I walk almost three miles back and forth across campus: Rackham, Hoyt, McKenny, Hoyt, Rackham, Bowen Lot. When the weather makes clear skies and 68F, all of the back and forth is fine. But when it rains. But when it rains.
And then there’s an unexpected umbrella frailty, or umbrailty if you are still in the mood for new words on this gray morning: my finest umbrella, an old and sturdy stand-by since my time in Syracuse, is failing. The handle slips off from time to time, and now it will not close up for stowing. The clasp does not catch. The canopy wants always to be open (a sure sign of its late-life wish for vigor and lasting purpose), and this makes some people think my unkempt umbrella is the cause for today’s showers. I have a second umbrella. Green and free (a gift from REC/IM), it does not withstand winds like the aging gear I just described. For today, at least, it might be enough to keep me dry and out of scorn-shot from the superstitious out there.
Conditions were unkind cruel Saturday for Is.’s first soccer outing of the spring: 45F, gusting winds, light rain, swampy pitch. For a first-time experience, I would call this one heckuva difficult test–a hard check of their pre-K grit. Just forty-five minutes out there proved some admirable soccer stick-to-it-ness for these kids and their families. They typically run a 30-minute practice followed by a 15-minute game, but Team Green, our “opponent,” wanted to start the match early because their parents and kids were mutinous with complaining about the elements. We got the game underway without much if any practice session. Having served many seasons as Ph.’s coach, I am strictly a parent this time around (yeah, I’ll volunteer to hand out the shirts or distribute snack, but no coaching). Is. is three-almost-four; Ph.’s soccer rounds helped us put youth sports in perspective years ago. And so Saturday was a lot of fun. Is. ended the session with a smile, and she has asked to kick around several times since.
Reflecting on the event, Is. said, “I’m on the blue team.”