Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Spring semester teaching begins, and adventures in voluminous snowfall...

Apparently some brave soul did attempt to walk that way...
It's another wintry morning here in Western New York, and my commute in was a bit on the harrowing side. :-\ Never a people to shy away from a snowfall challenge, even hardy Western New Yorkers and our hulking snow removal equipment can't keep up with clearing our drives and roadways right now. The plowed snow piles are so large surrounding the ends of driveways that it's hard to see around them to make turns. Not pleasant. And I believe we're getting more this weekend, so...

*eyebrow scrunch*

But let's chronicle starting with yesterday, since I had my first class of the spring semester. Getting up in front of a room full of people and talking about...anything, really, just does not come naturally to me, it's definitely the most challenging part of my job as a librarian. I always aim to do a good job, but it makes me seriously anxious. So yesterday afternoon I trekked across campus (thank God for the indoor walkways here negating the need to go outside) with my jump drive in hand to teach an American Pluralism class about how to find articles and online encyclopedia entries using an exact citation. Thus, it was just a short presentation I was going to be giving at the beginning of an hour and a half lecture course. 230 students, gulp. I found the room, one I'd never been to before. The instructor wasn't there yet, so I asked a student just to make sure I was in the right spot, and made him nearly jump out of his skin. Am I that scary? ;-)

At any rate, the instructor arrived, we chatted, and I opened up the web page I needed and the help document that I had created for them. I'm a big fan of organized lists, to the surprise of absolutely NO ONE.  So I did my thing as concisely and clearly as possible *gold star!* and was done well within 15 minutes. Brevity is a virtue when it comes to college students. I finished on a high note, and nearly left the room with the wireless microphone still attached to me, nobody's perfect. :0 But I got back to my office feeling relieved that the first class of the semester is behind me, it always gets easier after that.

Shortly thereafter, I left for the day, bound for the small grocery store near our house to fetch a few supplies for dinner that we didn't already have. We were making Stromboli, and so I needed dough and pepperoni. This small grocery store has a notoriously tiny parking lot, even in the best of conditions, so I was already dreading what was to come before I even got there. In the winter, their lot gets even worse because several spaces are taken up by plowed snow. Sure enough, as I went to turn into the drive, the giant snow piles were obscuring my view of a car coming out, which made for a dicey entrance. As I was maneuvering this little transaction, I could see an empty parking spot. My heart lightened. Suddenly, another car zooms over and parks in it.

*long suffering sigh*

No worries, I told myself. I see another spot...

Oh, nope. There was a small car hiding in it. I pass slowly through the rest of the small space with hope alive, all to no avail. I glance in my rear view mirror and see that several other cars have entered the lot and are driving around with solemn expressions on their faces, so I make the decision not to re-enter (why create a near occasion of sin? ;-)) and head to the nearby side street to park.

As I turn the corner, I can see the spot that I want, right behind another car, still close to the store. Wait, what is that SUV doing?! Yep, turning around in the nearby driveway TO PARK IN MY SPOT.

By this point, I was feeling *really* put out and nostril flarey. I had to wait while the car PARKED IN MY SPOT and then because of the driveway and a fire hydrant, park even further down the street. I get out of my car and see that the sidewalk is pretty much inaccessible because the snow lining the street is VERY TALL. Fine, I walk in the street, but then have to scale a snow MOUNTAIN at the corner in order to access the walk leading to the store.

 As I summited my own personal snowdrift, I could see the inevitable: there were suddenly no less than 3 or 4 empty parking spots. That's right, I have the power to make full parking lots empty out by the sheer volume of effort I have to put into parking someplace *far* less convenient.


I hurry into the store, fetch my stuff, and hurry out, rescaling everything and glaring at the *still* empty parking spots, compelling me to utter something under my breath that I will not repeat here.  :0 The drive home was slippery and sloppy in the slush that the plows just aren't able to keep up with, and this morning was no exception. Mike has been executing an Herculean effort to keep the driveway as clear as possible, but there is still always snow in it. Heavy snow, which keeps grabbing our car tires and making us get stuck, which happened to me again as I tried to exit on my way to work.


This is February in my part of the world. :) How are you doing, dear reader?


  1. The only snow-related thing I'm really thankful for right now is that I have no pressing reasons to leave the house at the moment (okay, I do tomorrow, but I haven't for a couple days). Driving has just been scary around here. I usually like the snow... but I like it considerably less when I have to drive in it!

    And awesome job on the presentation. The idea of just thinking of speaking in front of a crowd that size makes me feel panicky!

  2. 230 students wow. Talking in front of classes makes me nervous as well but I can't imagine a class of 230 students. The biggest I've talked to is about 50.


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