19 June 2006

What If You’d Never Left Your House Today?

Well, I’m not sure about the rest of the world, but I at least would have been much better off if I’d never left my house today.

It started off like a reasonably good day. I'd planned to take Cocoa for a walk and a short bike ride around the neighborhood (I ride, Cocoa trots and sniffs things), then go to the campus to work out at the gym, then to my office to take care of a few administrative tasks. Then home to do some reading and studying before going to dinner with colleagues/friends.

But as the walk with Cocoa began, things started to go wrong right away. We have to walk through my next-door neighbor’s yard to get to the sandy bayshore point where we take our morning walks. And this morning, just as we were traversing Ms. Next-Door’s yard, her sprinklers came on. Strike One.

Then, as we finished our walk and started our bike ride, the guy who delivers our newspaper—running a couple of hours LATE—came down the road in his truck. Now Cocoa has not the slightest interest in cars (unless he sees someone he knows inside them), but pickup trucks for some reason touch a nerve. He and Mocha, a neighbor dog who often joins us on our walks, started barking and giving chase as soon as the truck turned onto our road. The driver wisely slowed to a stop, I corralled and collared the two dogs, and NewsMan went on his way. While I was waiting for him to finish his deliveries on our dead-end road, turn around, and leave the neighborhood, the trick of trying to keep two excited dogs in check while straddling my bike eventually overwhelmed me. The bike tipped to one side, gave me a good smart smack on the back of my right hand, and then—“Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war”—Coke and Moke were off to stop that sneaky NewsMan from throwing things into our driveways. I rubbed my hand briefly, then pedaled wildly to catch the dogs and avoid any further unpleasantness. NewsMan was incredibly understanding, and was able to exit the area unmolested and leaving both dogs unscathed. But my hand hurt mightily, and my reasonably good morning was quickly going, quite literally, to the dogs. Strike Two.

(And before anyone has the urge to say, “Serves you right for walking your dogs without a leash,” or words to that effect, let me assure you that I live far off the beaten track, where all the neighbors as well as those who frequent the area not only approve of but virtually expect leashless dogs. So there.)

OK, so the chaotic bike ride over, I prepared to head for the campus, thinking that I’d feel better after a workout. But before I left the house, of course I found some ridiculous reason to snap at the Chief, who never knew what hit him (relax—I've already phoned him to apologize). Then, arriving at the university gym, or more accurately, the “Health and Leisure Services Fitness Center,” a name that irritates me all the time but naturally galled me most especially today, I suffered a further injustice. The gym is new this year, so we’re all still getting used to its new policies, though I thought I had it all figured out. But today, when I tried to enter, my faculty ID card was denied—the electronic turnstile failed to open and an obnoxious beep sounded. The TA at the desk told me that if I’m not teaching summer classes, I have to PAY to use the campus gym now, though this was never required for the old gym.

Now, I am a full-time faculty member—instructor of English, director of the Women’s Studies Program, advisor to Women’s Studies minors, and possibly about to become director of another program—all of which is not to blow my own horn but to indicate that I work my patootie off for this university, summer-fall-winter-spring. And now to be told that IF I want to use the gym for the three months of summer term, I have to pay the equivalent of half the annual membership fee charged to emeritus faculty and faculty dependents—well, it’s more than reason can bear. More than my already-bruised sense of justice can bear, anyway, at least today. Strike Three.

So, I’ve already fired off a nasty-gram to the person in charge of the Fitness Center. Well, not too nasty—I want to end up with this person on my side, after all. But I did express my strong disagreement with the policy, and I worked hard to appeal to Ms. Fitness Center’s sense of justice. She may not be able to do anything about the matter, but at least it’s a start. More to come.

Other than the email to Ms. Fitness Center, I’ve decided to let my administrative work ferment for another day. I’m going out for a bike ride to clear my head, calm my nerves, and generally re-center myself.

Anyway, what would be the impact on the world if I’d never left my house today? Probably negligible. But the impact on me would’ve been substantial—except that I’d have never known it. Hmmm, I may have more to say on that topic later—right now, the bike trail is calling me.


Blogger Tink said...

Sounds like it was a day to just stay in bed. And I wholeheartedly agree with you about the gym. Seems you have more on you plate then you need and to be denied a perk like this is just ridiculous.

11:40 AM  
Blogger ArtcMom said...

I'm sorry about all that! But it does make a great story! I'm with you- you shouldn't have to pay for the gym...I believe you've earned it!

2:09 PM  
Blogger loonyhiker said...

Sometimes I have days like that and quickly change my plans. I always wonder if God is sending me a message not to do what I have planned. Many hikes have been passed because of this and I always think that if I had insisted on going, I might have had a broken leg or got bitten by a snake. It was probably best that you didn't continue with your administrative plans!

2:14 PM  
Blogger Meg said...

Oh no!!!!!!! What a rough start to summer! Somebody sure was trying to stop you from living life today! I say, go curl up on that comfy couch in your reading room and let today go! And let us know what the gym people say, that's just ridiculous!

2:22 PM  
Blogger Sandra said...

Rough, rough! :)

Sorry you had such a rough day!

4:03 PM  
Blogger Laura Lou said...

What a morning you had!! Do let us know what happens with the gym.

5:10 PM  
Blogger heather said...

Things can only get better after that bad start :) My fingers are crossed for you!

5:51 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Look on the bright side Judy. By comparison tomorrow's got to be a really fantastic day.

9:38 PM  
Blogger Bethy said...

Your writing made me laugh right along with you - you have such a great style and I really felt for you!

4:27 PM  

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