1. The semester is now over. I never really thought I’d get to this point, to be honest – I’d completely overextended myself and it was just one mad dash through it all to try to keep up as best I could. But final exams are done, grades are turned in, and now I can focus on all of the things I need to be doing for the summer so it’s not like things will slow down much. But they will a bit. And that’s a win right there.
2. There were some memorable essays this finals season, my favorite being either the essay on the antebellum South where the student’s autocorrect changed “cotton” to “kittens,” (I can’t tell you how long it took me to figure out what had happened there) or the one where after listing some of the improbable events of both antebellum American history and of the past few months, the student ruefully concluded that they could no longer trust anything to make any sense at all so they might as well just agree with the thesis that I posted for the exam question and be done with it. I feel for you, kid. I really do.
3. In other news, now we are four again. I drove down to Small Liberal Arts College and picked up Oliver yesterday and – after dropping off a friend of his at the local airport – we had a lovely time catching up on things as we drove home. I don’t know how many more of these summers we’ll have, really – Oliver will graduate next year, and Lauren is a wanderer at heart – so I’m going to enjoy it while I can. I’m really glad I don’t have such a hectic schedule this summer.
4. Apparently I am getting very good at a video game I have never played and am thereby earning valuable points for a team I have never actually joined. Would that all accomplishments were this easy.
5. I am trying very hard to stay out of politics for the time being, since there are Actual Grown-Ups in charge now and the four-year-long drive toward outright Fascism that this country was on seems to have stalled accordingly. But the problem hasn’t gone away, and the more you pay attention to things the worse it looks. I suppose I’ll get back to it soon enough, but right now I’m going to exercise a bit of the unearned privilege that is my lot and just ignore it for a couple weeks more while I catch my breath.
6. Watching Americans hoarding gasoline by pouring it into plastic bags and stuffing those bags into the trunks of their cars in a frantic attempt to recreate the Ford Pinto experience has been an enlightening experience, however. At least exploding cars aren’t contagious or likely to yell at me in the supermarket for having the temerity to wear a mask as store policy requires. I have reached the point where I no longer have much sympathy for people who wish to auto-Darwinate for political reasons, and while this may not make me a good person I’m also not sure what if anything I care to do about it.
7. One thing I am looking forward to doing now that the semester is over is cleaning my home office, or rather getting back to cleaning my office, a project that I started in 2019, made a bit of progress on during January 2021, and may yet live long enough to complete. I am ready to start thinning the piles a bit – a new feeling for me – and I’d like to act on this while the feeling remains.
8. I recently purchased a bottle of Irish pot still whiskey, on the recommendation of a random article I read online that basically said, “You should try this,” and I have to say that it is very good indeed. Rather different from the bottle of single-malt Scotch that I’d been slowly working on during most of 2020 and finally finished sometime in March, but definitely a worthwhile purchase. Now that I am not grading assignments every night perhaps I will get to sample it more often.
9. I have now had to mow the lawn twice. This is a bad sign.
10. My brother once told me that “there are people who relax by doing something, and there are people who relax by doing nothing.” I find this distinction increasingly relevant in my world, where doing nothing is so rarely an option.