Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Like Hope, Only Different

The inauguration, by all accounts, was a rousing success. Hearts were touched. Spirits were uplifted. Lives were changed.

Or so I hear. Yes, that's right: I ignored this particular National Moment, a fact that I'm sure my children and grandchildren will bemoan. After so many months with a crush on Obama, and an even bigger crush on Michelle, I'm all burned out on rhetoric. So, the morning of, I woke up at 7, read about syntax while eating breakfast, and biked to school in time for my 9.30 class, where I happily chatted with classmates, catching up after the break since it was the first day of school, waiting for our professor to show up.

And waiting, and waiting. After about ten minutes with no professor, one of my classmates pulled out his laptop and turned on the rest of the inauguration coverage, which, at that point, was adoringly documenting Barack's First Bill, with all the enthusiasm of first-time parents watching their child, their perfect, brilliant child, take its first steps. After thirty minutes with no professor, one of my classmates left: "call me if he shows up," he said as he walked down the hall to his office. After an hour with no professor, we were all still sitting there, watching the coverage of the inaugural lunch, staring off into space, and talking, or in my case FREAKING OUT about the conference we're holding and how nothing's going right in our preparations. (Seriously, it's going to be a disaster and it's going to be all. my. fault.) After an hour and fifteen minutes with no professor, a few people started to shift in their seats and mutter, "maybe he's not coming." The true believers reacted instantly: No! There's five minutes left! He could still show up and at least pass out a syllabus!

After an hour and twenty minutes with no professor, students from the next class started coming in. That was it, class was over, and we all shuffled out, a little disappointed--not even a syllabus?

I realize, now, that this blog entry is structured such that you all now think I have a lesson to teach here, something Godot-esque, something about the value, or maybe danger, of expectations, when really I just wanted to tell a funny story about how a room full of students quietly waited for their no-show professor for the entire class period. Maybe it's meaningless, maybe it's not, maybe it's all symbiosis, who knows? But there is this: we had a very pleasant morning together, united in our belief that someday our professor would come. So even though we never got that syllabus we so desperately wanted, where was the harm in our great expectations?


mysh said...

You have a crush on The Grinch?

Amber said...

Amen - I'm all Yes We Canned out. I'd love to read the transcript of his speech, but I just can't stand to watch any more obsequious media coverage.

Weird that you professor never showed. But it's nice that you had a good morning.

Th. said...


He was probably watching the inauguration.

Petra said...

Oh, right, I should mention, in fairness to the professor, that he emailed us to all to cancel class because he wanted to watch the inauguration, but for strange reasons known only to the server none of us got that email. He was very apologetic about it in class this morning.

Diane said...

Forget Obama. Forget Michelle. The BOW!! Its THE BOW!! I don't need to be her back up singer, I'll be happy being her BOW when she sings.

padre said...

I was also jaded and about to skip another great speech by the man not from Hope but with Hope but then ended up watching it outdoors at 8:00 pm local time in front of a TV set up in the small hotel in Southern Sudan where I was staying. The audience in plastic chairs was about 50 Southern Sudanese and a motley smattering of mostly non American whites and me.

Do that and not bawl like a baby if you can. I couldn't.

Annie said...

i know this is a bit late, but i wanted to say that i didn't watch it for the same reason. it felt like a relief to avoid it, somehow. and really, it looks like the bow stole the show anyway. though, i do want to steal michelle's gloves...oh my, were they gorgeous.