If It Looks Like a Duck…

I had such a different and pleasant day, I wanted to share it with all of you!

I spent the day, quite contentedly, in the guise of a college student. Our apartment building is receiving new siding, and the workmen had finally made their way to our section. Far too much random hammering and power-stapling to concentrate on editing. So I went back over to the university to work for the day.

I never knew, but my current mom-wear (jeans, t-shirt, Tevas) along with a backpack makes me appear just like a student. If I wanted to appear more like faculty or staff, or a spouse thereof, I would have to dress up a bit, and possibly get a briefcase.

The big hitch of the morning was finding parking. If you arrive here after 9 am, you are going to be circling and searching for a while. The parking gods smiled upon me, however, and I ended up with a perfect spot right in a central location.

My chosen work spot was in the hypostyle of the student union, looking out over the green and leafy quad. (And now that I’ve looked up the definition of that word, I’m not so sure it’s being used accurately by the university, as I recall no supporting columns inside the room. But no matter, it’s a nice room.) The one problem with this room is the severe shortage of power outlets. Evidently this building was constructed long before laptops became de rigueur student paraphernalia! I bided my time, and then as I returned from grabbing a snack in the café, one of the few spots near an outlet opened up. I was set for the morning.

At one point I heard children’s voices outside. Teachers were pulling wagons full of toddlers from the Early Learning Center through the quad. A few minutes later, older preschoolers were hurtling across the lawn, chasing and rolling over the grass. I got up and tried to see if Napoleona were out there, but I didn’t see her. Must be her class’s turn tomorrow.

Just before lunch, a family of six sat down next to me, and the mother eyed my bright orange Chicago Manual of Style (which I had to bring as I haven’t gone through the rigmarole to get an on-campus internet account and therefore access the manual online, as I usually do). She said that she was glad she knew what the book looks like, as her professor had recommended it. Then she asked me what my major was!

After a lovely lunch with Anthropapa, and a quick tour of the Craft Studio (low cost craft supplies! low cost classes! a room full of power woodworking tools! pottery wheels! woo hoo!), I returned to my spot in the hypostyle.

As I worked, an amazingly cliché scene played out two tables over: a rather large, football-playerish-looking young man struggled with algebra while a cute, long-haired young woman tutored him. He flirted earnestly, she giggled, and he cried out, “It makes sense! I don’t know whether to hug you or what!”

Later in the afternoon I walked over to the library to explore and set up an account. Oh, I was so excited to be in a university library again! Oh, the stacks of books. Oh, the fluorescent lighting! At least when I went to the circulation desk I could identify myself properly as a staff spouse, not a student, despite my attire and backpack. I found a fascinating little translation of excerpts from a late 14th-century manual a man wrote for his wife, on all things wifely, and a book about weaving. So far, I’ve learned that medieval wives should keep all their husband’s secrets, and when out walking in public you should “keep your head straight, your eyelids decently lowered and motionless, and your gaze eight feet directly in front of you and on the ground without looking around at any man or woman to the right or left, or looking up, or shifting your gaze unsteadily from place to place, or laughing, or stopping to talk to anyone in the street.” I’ll spare you the admonitions about how to act in church!

So, I had a good day, feeding off the studenty vibe and getting my work done in relative peace. Thank you Anthropapa, for bringing us into academia and letting me pretend to be a student for a day.

I spent so many happy hours in the library at UCI, just looking at random stuff. (OK, not so random, mostly stuff to help with SCA projects.)

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12 Comments

Filed under Books, editing, freelancing, life, papa, Silliness and Mayhem

12 responses to “If It Looks Like a Duck…

  1. That sounds like a nice day! I love to people watch and actually get more done that way than my alone at my computer in the middle of the night work I usually do. Ahhh.

    Craft Studio? Sounds amazing!

  2. Aaah, a real university library….you do realise that we are big dorks because a well-stocked library is our dream come true? Even my kids know to keep me away from bookstores. But 14th c.? Anthromama, you’ve got a BIIIIG brain!

  3. Those walking instructions sound good for getting through a crowd of Republicans. Also, their vision is based on movement, so if the attack, become very still and you’ll disappear to them.

  4. I just read Papa Bradstein’s comments…hilarious! Reading about your day on campus made me miss that life so much! I loved living in a university town (Moscow) and spending hours in the library. If we ever had the opportunity to go back….my husband and I would do it a heartbeat.

  5. I miss university library ambience. I worked in the Elmer E. Rasmusson Library at the University of Fairbanks. Very hard to shelve books when all you want to do is read them.

  6. Nana

    I guess there are compensations for moving from a place near a big city to a place with a big library.

    Nana knows that in your heart of hearts you have never really stopped being a student.

  7. Jen

    That is wonderful–we live near a college campus and I love walking it–‘feeding off the vibe’ as you said. It is that learning, free thinking, vibe that colleges/universities have that makes them great:-)

  8. I go to work at Dartmouth now and then in the winter–beautiful library nooks, warmth, fast internet, and coffee. What more could I want? ….free parking.

    I must say though….I am NEVER mistaken for a college student. Too much gray hair 🙂

  9. Nana

    when you find a perfect, or even near perfect, parking space, it’s all due to Carma!

  10. Denise: I did pretty well getting work done…but I’m not sure yet if I’m more productive at home or at the library.

    Goodwitch: Yes, I am fully aware of our dorkitude. The 14th c. thing was translated, so it’s not like I have the big Middle English brain or anything….

    Papa B: I’m surprised you didn’t mention something about the shifty gaze, too.

    Dawn: I’m putting Moscow (Idaho, not Russia) on my list of places to visit. If it’s a real college town, which Pocatello doesn’t really seem to be.

    HMH: What is it about university library names? ISU’s is the Eli M. Oboler Library. I’m sure these were all honorable men, but their names remind me of Elmer Fudd.

    Nana: No, I never really stopped. I was just on hiatus. Now I just need to figure out how to fit in taking classes with being a freelance editor, wife, and mother.

    Jen: Welcome! Thanks for visiting. There is such a vibe, just having people out walking around, events being advertised, etc.

    Sarah: Yep, free parking would be nice. Seems like ISU has a lot of “nontraditional” students…I see a lot of people with kids in tow around here. So maybe you’d blend it better here 🙂

    Nana: That’s a stinker!

  11. Wow, so many of my college memories popped up as I read your post! I sometimes miss the environment at U of MT and Keene State College.

    And I’m affraid to even STEP into the library at UAA! What if I don’t come out?!? Last time I was there I was 8 mo. preggers carrying a load of huge anatomy and physiology books for my massage therapy class.

  12. Must admit, now I’ve finished (unless I fail the dissertation) my academic thing of the last two years, I’m going to really miss the trips to (and days in) the library.

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