How you know when it’s gone too far:
You’ve agreed to do your two Romantic Pianism lectures, as you always do, for the 8:00 AM Music History class. The first one was Friday; it went fine. There followed an atypical weekend, chock-full of atypical activities (library research Saturday afternoon, two different concerts, Purim…). Then you and wife both oversleep on Monday. Not terminally; not really a problem. You get wife and son out the door, since you teach late—hey, no problem!—then do the shower, bag lunch, blog, dishes.
Anyway, so you realize at about 9:30 AM, just getting ready to ascend the central stairway, that you have TITANICALLY screwed up.
* * *
After the grovelling has been taken care of, the rest of the day is spent tiptoeing through activities to make sure something worse doesn’t happen. Plans for a compensatory evening lecture are underway. I’m remembering the grading I didn’t do, the exams I have to get ready…
I don’t remember activities and plans being this diffuse, or having to keep this many balls in the air. This actually scared the hell out of me. I do periodically—very occasionally—like to complete projects, as with a recent book proposal and article, and I guess it takes its toll on the everyday. I do also need to practice a bit, for my sanity, as after the lovely recital last Friday night and shop-talk with the pianist following.
What makes it worse is that everyone is being understanding. “Oh, come on. Hey, you’re Dr. Bellman! I mean…” “Just glad to know EVERYONE is fallible…” “I was just sorry to miss your lecture; why don’t you come back Wednesday? I really wanted to hear about Chopin…”
This is just killing me. I am the most intolerant, crabbed, and cussed old bastard regarding that kind of thing when students do it. Yes, it’s the biter bit, justice served, and I am being taught a lesson as firmly and gently and lovingly as the villain in any moralizing children’s book. Everyone is acting just the way I should act when people present human foibles in my presence. People around me are gently teaching me Important Lessons. True, true, true.
And I simply want to impale myself on something, for the shame of it.