Dowbrigade Back on the Beat

It’s finally over, the semester that wouldn’t end. It started, if memory serves, on May 29, with a class of Business Professionals meeting in a weird wired classroom near the Business School, and ended this afternoon with a farewell lunch in a Thai joint a half-mile down Comm Ave.

Over the intervening 28 weeks, motivated by encroaching poverty, the Dowbrigade has been a veritable didactic machine. Calling in favors, leaning on management, volunteering for suicide missions, we loaded up our schedule with a hodgepodge of assignments, different departments, ad hoc electives and an eclectic collection of tutorees including personages of whom we dare not reminisce lest we run afoul of one of several foreign intelligence organizations.

Many times during the tough stretches, doing the dirty work in the academic trenches of American Higher Education, teaching three-a-days and getting home so tired we didn’t make it through the news, stacks of papers to correct so high we can’t see the TV behind them, the flat tire in the rain skipping lunch between classes to meet the man, mornings we could barely drag our sorry carcass out of bed, one thought kept us going. That thought – right now. The present moment. Looking back in stunned satisfaction, having run the gauntlet of placement, syllabus, midterm, term papers, finals, evaluations again and again till our head hurt. And now – We Are There.

So what do we have planned for the next six weeks, until the “Spring” semester starts up in the dog days of January? For the next few days, as little as possible, allowing the engine to cool down and the steam to dissipate. Then, the things we always like to do when our time is our own; read, eat, blog, learn new stuff, laugh, enjoy family, get lost and try to find our way home, get into trouble and try to find a way out. No travel on the schedule so far; last year we spent Christmas in the Andes and New Year on the Beach, and the year before Norma Yvonne was with her Mom in Ecuador, so this year we plan to spend the holidays together, at home, with a tree decorated, stockings hung, and family mustered. Hoping for a silent night and Peace on Earth. Fat chance.

At any rate, a chance to rest up and recharge our batteries after an exhausting though exhilarating run of close encounters of a classroom kind.

Actually, we should probably be ashamed of ourselves. Here we are whining about how hard we have to work, when compared to three-fourths of the people on the planet we live a life of unimaginable luxury and sloth. Why, compared to a Burmese peasant toiling endlessly in some rice paddy, or a Guatemalan Indian spending 70 hours a week in some firetrap factory carving cat scratchers for sale in Targets across America, or any one of millions of incarcerated souls forgotten by the outside world, working hard every day just to stay alive, and sane, the Dowbrigade is a pampered prince in a pleasure palace.

Besides, we’ve lived long enough to know by now that whenever things seems most placid, restful and blessedly boring, cacophonous chaos is right around the corner. Stay tuned….

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