Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A day at the office

by J J Cohen

Is it a bad omen for the impending semester when as you attempt to enter the parking garage (at 7.25 AM), the gate will not respond to your swiping of your ID? And then it suddenly springs to attention, but as your car attempts to pull through its big wooden bar crashes back down? I lost an hour of my life filing the damage report, a process overseen by both the garage supervisor and a policeman. I should have taken the subway, I know, but I was lugging so many books, and I am sooo weak. The Eco-Gods have spoken and they are not pleased. I hear them. I repent.

Then again, it did beat writing syllabi.

portrait with offending garage
Despite my desire for another month or two of holiday break, the spring term is coming. That's why when I wasn't being bashed by a garage barrier I spent my day as follows.
  1. finished my spring syllabi (I'm teaching a graduate seminar and a Chaucer course)
  2. got my hair cut, so I can look all spiffy come Monday
  3. printed my syllabi and made copies, because I know from experience that if I wait until Monday, that will be the very day that the departmental copier dies and/or the supply of paper runs completely out and I'll have to make my own from scratch.
  4. sent what seemed like 10000000 emails, mostly having to do with this conference.
  5. chatted with the few faculty who were around
  6. ate a meager lunch while finishing a tenure review letter, which I then mailed
  7. sent an email to my neighborhood listserv seeking to buy or borrow a guitar, because the comments here inspired me. As a bonus, I received two tips on good teachers.
  8. set up the Blackboard sites for my classes
  9. submitted a revised abstract for an essay I'm working on
  10. submitted a review to AHR
  11. worked for several hours on the application that, I hope, will extend the university's funding of GW MEMSI for another two years.
  12. composed the very blog post that you are reading at this moment. How meta is that?


Myra Seaman said...

That sounds like a pretty much perfect day, to me. Even including the Incident at the Garage. I've been giddily learning how to produce blogs for my courses (Robert's trying, thus far unsuccessfully, to get me to call them "pedablogs.") Where the technology is in place, the syllabi will simply follow.

Jeffrey Cohen said...

Myra, some sympathy please! If I'd been driving a convertible I might have died. Imagine how you'd feel then.

Mike Pryke said...

"Prominent Medievalist decapitated by Parking Garage barrier"

Professor Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (51) was pronounced dead at the scene by a Washington D.C. police officer this morning, before standing up from his vehicle, picking his severed head up from the footwell on the passenger's side, and declaring that he would wait for a year-and-a-day before returning the blow on the malicious wooden barrier.

A spokesperson from George Washington University declined to comment at this time, although it is rumoured that the English Literature department is commissioning a Middle English romance to commemorate the passing of its most plauded academic.

Heide Estes said...

Wish I were that productive.

Jeffrey Cohen said...

51??!! I never expected to live so long.

Anonymous said...

Although I do sympathize with the wretched start to your day and the damage to your car, Jeffrey, you might find solace in learning that very similar circumstances to your own were once mined for comedic gold by the likes of Harvey Korman and Tim Conway in their underrated masterpiece "The Longshot." Here's a clip of the scene to which I refer. (You might also be pleased to learn from this clip that things could have gone much worse for you.)