Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Towards The End Of Summer...

I especially like the end of the Summer break. Although, this being Louisiana, the temperatures and heat indices are insane, it is a nice time on our campus. It is still too early for students to start appearing, but there are a few faculty around.

The semester is a couple of weeks away, so people are beginning to drift back, to tidy their offices and to begin to get ready. Most people have completed their traveling. A few of the new faculty are beginning to show up. Those of us who have been working on research throughout the Summer are rushing to finish up our papers and talks. We have had the building to ourselves, with just a few office staff and janitors as company. Over the Summer, a relaxed camaraderie between faculty, staff and workers has arisen.

For these reasons then, there are a few more people around. Also, most people are in quite a relaxed frame of mind. There is plenty of time to stop and pass the time, catch up on news. Of course, this is the lull before the storm of the semester, but it is a time to relish.

Today, having dug my way through the usual pile of e-mails, answering some and deleting the many offers for cheap drugs and congratulations for having won lotteries I never play, I was scanning through a book for a reference. Across the hall, the office staff were gossiping and listening to music. Suddenly, two people I know appeared outside my office in the corridor, with a small fridge and a box of books on a dolly. This was a bit of a surprise. I was even more surprised when they announced that they were moving into an office down the hall! I thought that they were all full.

After a bit of confusion, it turned out that they had managed to get out of the elevator on the wrong floor and I was not to have new office neighbours after all. However, I did offer them a hand with their heavy load. One reason for this is that I actually quite like physical labor. The other reason was that this was a chance to socialise a little. One of the individuals has been around, teaching through the penal servitude of the Summer session. The other has been away teaching elsewhere, but has returned to teach with us. Thus, it was nice to catch up.

As it happened, this was a good call. There were a few piles of box that needed to be moved from one office to another. This was easy work, but made all the more fun when done in a group. Once the task was completed, we went and had a tasty and relaxed lunch. This is the kind of lunch that is really enjoyable. Throughout all these activities we chatted. There was a great deal to talk about. There was University gossip and conjectures on various possible future courses of events. There were humorous anecdotes. It was a thoroughly cordial gathering.

It is little chance events like this, that mostly seem to happen at this time of year, when people are not frantically running for classes, or meetings, that make this time of year so enjoyable. I hope there are a few more days like today before the full horror of the semester breaks upon us all. I hope too that other professors reading this are having, or will have, a few nice days like this before it is time to put the shoulder to the proverbial grind stone, when our personal salt mines go back into full scale operation.

The CP

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