Thursday, April 13, 2017

One more day

I have today to get through, and then I can take a little time off.

Tonight is Maundy Thursday service. I am at the table, and I may also be doing a reading (the woman who is to do it is suffering from shingles and while she said she felt okay last night, there's always a chance she won't be tonight, so I'm her fill-in if she's not up to it). They're doing a "symbolic footwashing" (or rather, the minister is) and I admit I'm a little uncomfortable about that....he wants a lot of us to come forward for it but....I guess this is one of the ways in which I feel uncomfortable "being served." I know it's purely symbolic and all but....I don't know, I'd rather be up there doing something like a reading or something.

It was also board meeting last night. One thing the minister mentioned - several of our choir-scholarship students (we give a small stipend to them in return for them coming and singing with us) were going to be here over the summer and the worship committee wanted to invite them to be with us over the summer, and he thought it would be nice to continue the stipend. Several of us pulled out our checkbooks and it's now taken care of. And he mentioned something I think is very true: "Singing here is important to them because they get a sort of appreciation and emotional support they don't always get on campus."

I feel that myself. That's partly why I tend to do a lot with minimal grumbling - because I feel appreciated there. I feel like people care about what I'm doing. On campus, all too often, I feel taken for granted - that's part of the distress I've felt this past year or so, that I'm a cog in the machine and my purpose is to make sure other people (students, colleagues, admins) are happy and my own happiness doesn't matter. But at church....sometimes one of the older women will hug me during the greeting time, or someone will compliment my cooking at a potluck, or something. People take the effort to care for one another.

(And it strikes me: have I felt this less on campus of late because everyone's so stressed about all the budget mess, and it's making us ungracious? It could be. It could also be that everyone's "doing more with less," in one of the phrases I hate more than almost any phrase, and everyone's so tired, and people are noticing that certain things AREN'T getting done - there was discussion at the last faculty meeting about the intro-bio prep room being a mess and I felt all the eyes resting on me because I teach the last lab of the week and I know some have expected that as a result, I'd be the one to clean up the prep room EXCEPT the past two weeks I have have evening meetings after it's not like I have copious free time. And so I'm wondering if everyone is feeling stress and strain because they're all doing things there should be a few more employees to do....and we're just kind of frayed)

One of my fellow elders also told a funny story before our meeting. This happened to a friend of hers. The woman went into one of the local C-stores (a convenience store attached to a gas station). There was a young woman in there in some distress, and the guy working in the store was trying to help her. The young woman was lost - she couldn't figure out how to get back on to the interstate because of all the construction (the main onramp in town to go south was closed). The guy was trying to explain to her how to get back out to the interstate and she kept saying, "I don't know, I don't know, I can't read maps, I can only follow my GPS." So the guy asked my friend's friend if she could maybe help.

She tried to explain, got the same response. Finally, to try to get a better idea of where the young woman needed to be, she asked her: "Where did you leave from and where are you going?"

The young woman responded: "I live in Houston and I am trying to go to San Antonio."

Yes, Houston, Texas.
Yes, San Antonio, Texas.

You know - west and slightly south on US 10.

Many of you know where I live.

It takes about twice as long to get to where I am as it should take between Houston and San Antonio. And it's North, not West.

I....can't even. My best guess (given that this story is not grossly embellished, which is possible but Cindy didn't seem to think so) is that she input something totally wrong to the GPS and then just blindly followed it until she wound up in southern Oklahoma. If there's any truth to the story, that seems like an utterly shocking lack of situational awareness (the sun's position relative to where you're going, for example) and common sense.

I grew up in the era of paper maps (pre-GPS) and I also realize, more and more, that one of the forms of what you might call "unrecognized privilege" I had going up was that my parents taught me to read maps - my dad figured out when I was a young tween that if he handed me the map and made me "navigator" I wouldn't ask any more how much farther it was, because I could figure it out myself from the map. And he taught me how to read topographic maps and soils maps (he is a geologist) so I could help him on some of his fieldwork (in several instances: he needed a small person who could squeeze in to tight areas to get to an outdoor tap or pump to take a water sample).

But yeah, I see lots of people in my classes who are not comfortable with maps and it just seems kind of odd to me because using maps were such a big part of my growing-up years.

I keep an Oklahoma Gazetteer in my car and use it to figure out routes to places. I also have (and probably need to get a new one, if they still even make them) a big Rand McNally atlas of the US states with highways in it for if I'm ever in Texas or Arkansas and need to check on something - the copy I have is old and needs updating.

When I travel I often look up the route online first and print out the maps, and if it's complex, I write out the step by step directions on Post It notes for my dashboard....

But yeah. I can't imagine driving 2 or more hours past "I should be there now" and not realize that it was a bad path....

1 comment:

purlewe said...

once, I was driving up to my inlaws (my wife was already there) and I promised to take a friend home to his parents which would have been the midpoint of my ride (3 hr ride, drop off at the 1.5 hrs mark.) I asked him if he knew how to get home. He said yes. So I followed his directions. When we hit ANOTHER STATE at the 1 hr mark I knew we were off base. I pulled over, got the map from the backseat, figured out how to get to his hometown. I was, as they say, HOT. It was xmas eve, and I was lost, and he honestly had no idea we were lost b'c he told me "well I don't drive, so I don't know we were lost and I can't read maps" When I got to his folks house 2 hrs later (and 1.5 hrs later than he was expected) his mom gave me lunch and said: please tell me you didn't follow his directions, he has no sense of direction. I was so late to my inlaws! And I was pretty mad at him for about a month.