Saturday, September 30, 2006
So little time, so much to write about. I guess I'll start with the item above, which I found in the grass not far from my car yesterday morning. I couldn't quite understand why someone would leave their rear-view mirror on the front yard. It was going to be a big day--I was dressed up for the symphony, which I'd be attending with Joe, who so kindly had put a ticket on reserve for me. I also had to figure out where West Lafayette's city hall was, so I could contest a parking ticket I got that asserted--falsely--that my license plate was expired. I'm carrying a laundry basket, trying not to get lint on my suitcoat. And this rearview mirror that I almost trip over. Though I wasn't really processing things well at that time--I was also thinking of the appointment I was going to and what I was going to be saying to my student regarding his paper and why he didn't get a good grade--I still immediately recognized the mirror as belonging to a Ford Taurus or a Mercury Sable. I pulled out my keys so as to put laundry in the trunk when I noticed something very, very wrong:
Well, shit. Some ass sideswipes my car overnight and doesn't bother leaving a note or anything. Other damage wasn't immediately apparent as I call my insurance guy to see what needs to happen. He mentioned that if it was only my rearview mirror that I'd do just as well to fix it myself, since I had a $500 deductible. By the time I found the atrocious architectural abomination that housed West Lafayette City Hall, the dew had evaporated off of my car, I found I had matching red paint stripes almost the entire way down the side of my car, including the front wheel. Subsequent phone call with insurance company. The agent recommended that I file a report with the police, especially since I had one of the battered appendages of the offending vehicle. This I dutifully did, as I certainly would love to see this person get in some trouble. That done, I had to call around for arrangements to get estimates done, etc. I just got through that found I had just enough time to dash to campus for my appointment, which didn't go all that well, in that the student in question was having difficulty with understanding the fact that "what is intended" and "what actually appears on the paper" are two different things. My feeling on the matter didn't improve much considering that he was over a half hour late for the appointment. From there, I called for directions to an auto dealership in town to look at my car. Due to my schedule, the work will have to be done up in Lafayette, rather than my usual place. Once the damage was looked over the total came up to [deep sigh] $2,400. I guess I'll be making arrangements to park in some driveway or other from here on out. Once the estimate and appointment to bring the car in were all squared away, I had just enough time to get to my class. This was the second installment of individual conferences with half of my students to discuss their papers and my comments on them. Some were not even remotely pleased with their grades. One even had nerve to be indignant regarding the grade I came to. I mentioned that I had told the class specifically what I was going to be looking at in order to grade the papers and, after my repeated conversations with them on the matter, if those things were not included in the paper, a lowered grade should not come as a surprise. So, after an hour of systematically removing myself from various Christmas-card lists, I walked off to my wounded car and beat feet to Indianapolis, where I met up with Joe and Royce, who were already halfway through their warming martinis.
During the conversation, it dawned on me that I hadn't even asked what was on the program. It turned out to be the Rachmaninov 3rd piano concerto in the first half and Richard Strauss' Ein Heldenleben in the second. Perhaps it was the second martini, or, more likely, the fact that it was my first live music experience in months, but I was quite on the edge of my seat during the entire concerto. At the same time I noticed that the soloist underplayed various things in the left hand or overplayed and banged other sections but that didn't matter. The music was there and there was no room for hit-and-run drivers, indignant freshmen, or insurance policies. The music was there and there was no other place to be.