Tuesday, January 18, 2011

tumult on a quiet day

Isn’t it the case that you feel upheaval much more when you are standing in a tranquil spot? That you notice imperfection more on the days that have few of them, that you feel the bumps on a smoother road?

So that, for example, when we were leaving Paris on a sparklingly fine weather day, we would feel mystified as to why one should sit on a plane at the gate and move nowhere at all for two hours? And then, because it was all so otherwise smooth, it should feel somewhat upsetting to be told that one and only one (of the needed five) ground crew members showed up to load luggage, and so it took a tad longer to get it all on board?

And isn’t it true that after a period of unrest, when peace comes, you appreciate the outcome all the more? So that if the flying skies over Paris were unfriendly in December, now they appear sublime, just because no one’s bags were lost and no one's flight got canceled?

Today I received an email from Air France apologizing for the endless December inconvenience and promising some small compensation for it. What else can you ask for but that some one noticed your inconvenience and cared to say something about it. That’s all.

In other news, it was cold and snowy in Madison upon my return, but not nearly as cold as it will be tomorrow. Landing in Madison leads you to expect this.

But it’s still somehow jarring to come face to face with so much winter stuff all around you. Do I really live in a place so... frozen? People riding to work, to school, they're hidden behind so many layers of wool that you cannot tell if they're smiling or bitterly disappointed with the day.


Ah well. I tell my students that all that separates us from a beautiful spring day is a class or two, or fifty-four actually (because there are fifty-four classes in a four credit course) and it all goes so very quickly anyway.