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?