Friday, February 6, 2009

The Soundtrack to My Day

Tomorrow is the official inauguration of the new campus. That means many of the trustees, donors, and other important people will be there, highlighted by Her Excellency, the President’s wife and an alum. That means that during the past week there has, finally, been fast and furious work on campus in preparation, with careful attention to fixing broken tiles, landscaping, and signage. For the last of these, they have been adding plaques like, the “SO and SO, Class of 1985, Fountain.” Due to the distinguished visitor, the campus will be completely locked down (some speculate the Prez himself may be there). Only one bus. Admission by invitation only. No students allowed (because they would protest). Faculty not allowed to enter our own offices. Cellphones disallowed and signals scrambled. Really intense security.

Yesterday I was trying to teach and my classrooms overlook one of the main campus courtyards. On a typical day, as long as the windows are closed, there is not a problem with the noise. Yesterday was not typical. They were doing a sound check for the weekend’s events. It was unbelievably loud. Loud enough to make me need to stop class for a few minutes. Fortunately, the noise was intermittent. Still, I thought I would share the soundtrack to my day.

  • 10:30am: Discussing an essay by Iraqi poet Sa’di Yusuf to Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ la Vida Loca.”
  • 12:30pm: Discussing Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s “Decolonising the Mind” to a really dramatic orchestral processional. The music came on as one of my students was about to say something, so I told her, before she began, that her comment was guaranteed to sound brilliant with that accompaniment.
  • 2:30pm: Discussing Royall Tyler’s The Algerine Captive to a microphone check. One of my students started to freestyle about late 18th century US literature...

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