Wednesday, February 05, 2014

A driving question

(I was reminded of this annoyance as I came in this morning. I think my eyes have recovered)

When I was learning to drive, all those years ago, one thing my dad taught me was that if you are using the high-beam headlights, for example, if you are driving on a back country road, it is the proper thing to do, if there is an oncoming driver, to flip back to low-beam. I was taught it as "It's courteous to do" but also with a sense of "Decent people do this."*

Is this not generally done? Or is it not taught any more? Regularly, when I drive to work in the dark, I encounter someone coming in from the sticks who had their high beams on, who just LEAVES them on, blinding oncoming drivers. (Doubleplusungood: those who have the aftermarket "brighter than the sun" halogen headlights. But this person today wasn't one of those).

I just wonder: are a lot of those things I was just taught as "it's general courtesy to do this" something most people don't care about? (And yeah, I can understand being distracted and maybe occasionally forgetting your high beams are on. But I get blinded on a regular-enough basis to think that a lot of people just don't CARE, or don't realize that it's hard on the other drivers.)

(*Heh. Subordinate clauses for the win. I don't speak German but I can sometimes construct a sentence like one)


I did get my supplies yesterday afternoon. But the weather looks like it's going to be less dire than originally predicted - yes, it's deadly cold out this morning, but if we get any snow, it is supposed to be "just a dusting" according to the one local forecaster that I have some trust in.

Though I will say, I looked in the cart at one point and chuckled. I had milk (the main reason I had gone out) and eggs (I need to bake a cake for Monday) and I had gotten another loaf of bread. So it was real French Toast Emergency preparations.

(Well, I also got frozen blueberries, and a jar of red cabbage, and some cream cheese)

The store was getting low on eggs. And it looked like a lot of people were buying frozen pizzas, which seem to be the emergency-preparation food around here. (But then again: if your power goes out, what are you gonna do? Gnaw on a frozen pizza? As I've said before, I always keep peanut butter and granola bars and both canned and dried fruit on hand in case I have to subsist on cold food for a few days.)

But, as it turns out, today I won't get done until 7 pm. And maybe not Friday, either. (And Thursday I have AAUW). We're interviewing candidates for a retirement-replacement. This round is phone interviews.

I have to admit I'm not in love with phone interviewing. I'm hoping the committee chair was able to set it up with Skype or something; I always have a harder time when I can't see a person's expressions because sometimes I take stuff quite literally that's said in jest, if I don't have some facial clue in front of me that says "This person is joking."

(And also, if people have any kind of an accent? I can understand them better if I can see their mouths.)

At any rate: I'm not going to have much time to work on stuff the rest of this week, I mean stuff other than work-stuff. I did bring my knitting bag (with the two scarves I'm working on) just in case that 3 pm to 5 pm timeslot - when I'm waiting to do the interview - is a time when I don't want to work on anything school-related.


It's STILL incredibly cold in most of my building. (My office was at 62 degrees when I came in this morning. The student lounge feels a solid 10 degrees colder). They've opened up the fire doors between the faculty offices and the student lounge (these doors are supposed to be closed, by edict of the fire marshall) to redistribute what heat there is (which means we get colder in our offices, but the lounge doesn't get much warmer - it's an immense open space with too high of a ceiling).

The labs (where I will be teaching today) are marginally warmer than they were but are far from comfortable. (A colleague reports that the corn oil we are to use in the Macromolecules lab this week has semi-solidified).

One of my other colleagues, as we were talking about it in the hall, exclaimed, "Oh, my gosh. In my lab this week we are doing the analysis of the Donner Party data" (It's an exercise in hypothesis formation and critical thinking - this is the intro level lab). We all laughed pretty hard about that and my other colleague warned him to "watch the students carefully."

But yeah. Being cold all day, every day is getting really old really fast. We've called it in, I guess some work has been done. But the classroom building is less than 15 years old, it should not be having so many problems (there was also a pipe that broke in one of the prep rooms and showered the room in water). I can only assume that the contractors who built it seriously cheaped out on the construction. And of course, we (and the university) is left holding the bag. Or wearing the bag to try to stay warm, as the case may be.

1 comment:

Charlotte said...

I, too, was taught to dim my lights once another car was within some prescribed distance. Can't remember how far that is but since most of my driving is city driving, dimming my lights isn't an issue because I don't drive with my brights on most of the time. It could be that the ones who forget to dim their lights, forget they have the brights on.