Wednesday, August 16
The weather finally broke last week. I was in class when the rain started, and suddenly no one could concentrate. I gave up entirely when "Gidget" bounced into the room and explained to nearby students that we would have to leave because a local telecom company would be holding a conference in our classroom.

Now this particular room was fairly important to me for reasons I can't fully explain. It helped my students act more like professional adults and it allowed them to produce the thing they were supposed to produce, rather than just talk about it in abstract terms. But I tried to be graceful. I announced break time, and we walked together toward another room where a projector would let me show images of their work.

But we walked in the rain, of course, and it was one of those rains that was so long in coming that you just can't feel bad about anything once it starts. I couldn't be angry for getting kicked out of our room, and we didn't wish for rain gear.

Soon the front of the group noticed that we were approaching a newly formed swimming hole right in the middle of campus. Some of my favorite jokes about this institution involve their obsessive groundskeeping, and the grass in the central areas is a perfect example. It's always new sod, so there's a dense root system under the grass that isolates it from the dirt. So when two inches of rain fell on the our fresh sod, it made...

Well, apparently it was obvious to everyone under 25 that what we had there was a 200 ft body surfing facility!

I have to admit, they glanced in my direction just briefly to see if I'd be mad. And, don't tell anybody, but nothing could have made me happier! After break, though, they were soaked, and when we got back to our new air conditioned high-tech room, they were freezing, and we couldn't do the work we were supposed to do anyway, so I canceled class an hour early and headed off to (he he he) complain bitterly to my chair about being kicked out of my classroom.

He "explained" to me that the telecom company gives a lot of money to the university, and I guess that's important for educating our students. But just between you, me and the blogosphere, our students were out bodysurfing on the quad!


Turquoise Stuff said...

Sounds fun! And while it can be frustrating to have a part of class cancelled, this early on in the year it's a bit of a mixed blessing, no? That is, you'll have to do less preparations for next class. But since it's not the end of the term yet, presumably it's not messing up the schedule too much.

fraud, in denim said...

Sounds like you and your students got just the break that you needed!


Some of my favorite jokes about this institution involve their obsessive groundskeeping.

I think my graduate school spent more money on landscaping than on all the grad student salaries combined. It was nauseating.

twilight blue said...

I LOVE this! Having done a fair amount of lawn frolicking (if not body surfing) myself, it brings back very fond memories.

Actually, a quite happily remembered moment from undergrad is from a spring seminar during which we sat outside on a lawn discussing Aquinas, while on a further reach of lawn, just behind my professor, a group of semi-clothed-to-naked students were doing a May pole sort of dance in celebration of Spring... The juxtaposition was quite delightful. I was then - and probably am still now - too shy to shrug off my clothes, streak through seminar, and join their dance, which is least insofar as THAT story would've made for a better academic secret....

Mahogany said...

(Rain) Pah ha ha ha ha ha! Twilight Blue, I'll keep that in mind for next time, but I think you just sent several of our colorful companions under the table. Fraud, I've found a new appreciation for the landscaping since that day. I try to enjoy it, since it's there (and since there aren't any books in the library to distract me from the beautiful view.) And Turquoise, no worries, it was the end of summer session. Life is good.

Mahogany said...

Shew! I misread that, Wild Blue (which is now the ONLY appropriate name for you), I knew you were talking about yourself, but there at the end, I thought the sugestion was for an embellishment to *my* story (a better secret), and I can tell you why I thought that. I'm already worried that my chair will cruise through and think, "Gee this story about getting kicked out of a classroom by a conference sounds familiar." Now if the story had a few extras in it, like, "I tore off my clothes and went streaking through the rain with a bunch of (CLOTHED, mind you) undergraduates," I just imagine that my semester would be more eventful than I'd like.

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