Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dropping the balls I juggle.

I had planned to use this blog post to talk about my everyday carry, but then I had one of those days where I just kept doing things wrong. It was slapstick-y. I was expecting to slip on a banana peel and hear a kazoo any minute. So I'm going to write about that instead.

Perhaps my body was in a tiny revolt about coming back from the extra-long weekend after Labor Day? Perhaps an oddly specific poltergeist was moving my belongings and/or neurons when I wasn't looking? Perhaps I am just not as organized and on top of things as I'd like to believe? In any event, the many minor things that went wrong today stayed minor, which is the important thing. In every case I had a contingency plan in place, so nothing got blown out of proportion, and today certainly reinforced my belief that I need those contingency plans.

Here are some of the things I did wrong today:
1. I pressed the coffee grind button when the receiving canister was not in place to catch the grounds. Grounds went everywhere. Also, coffee was already brewing and there was no need to make more. I just pressed it an unnecessary extra time. To be fancy.

2. I realized on the train that I left my textbook at home. You know, the one I assigned.

3. My bus was late. This was not technically my fault.

4. When I was about to eat lunch during my office hours, I discovered that it had gone bad. Roasted beets with feta and walnuts keep for a long time, but apparently not THAT long.

I would like to point out that I am NOT NEW to (1) making coffee, (2) teaching, or (3) packing lunch for myself.

BUT! I did the following and nothing turned out to be a very big deal:

1. I wiped off the counter (exciting) and this evening, I brewed the extra grounds from this morning. Not the freshest ever, but I'll store the extra coffee in the fridge and drink it cold on a warm morning.

2. I leave a reserve copy of the textbook at our school library. I borrowed it, scanned the essay for today using the Camscanner app on my phone and then printed it out for reference during class.

3. I allow for extra travel time. I still made it to my office door by the scheduled beginning of my office hours.

4. I had also packed myself a bag of fresh vegetables, so even though my main course went bad, I still had some stuff. And I keep a supply of nonperishable foods in one of my desk drawers. I ate fresh green beans and red bell pepper and a packet of peanuts for lunch. Not my finest meal, but it worked.

So, in one way, my day was marred by extreme forgetfulness and foolishness, and in another way, my day was improved by extremely judicious forethought. Like those That's Good! That's Bad! picture books.

Do you guys have contingency plans in place for when you forget things/do things wrong in a hilarious manner? I think I am in the market for some more contingency plans, here. Or do you, in fact, never do things wrong in a hilarious manner or otherwise?


  1. When I get delivery from a restaurant, I have developed the habit of always ordering an extra something. Not because I want to eat it with dinner, but because if the order ends up wrong (or with some sort of meat in it) I still have something to eat. It's certainly not efficient or thrifty but it has been useful a surprising number of times.

  2. That's a great idea, especially for people with dietary restrictions ordering from new places! Plus, if everything DOES work out fine, you have lunch for tomorrow.

  3. Mostly I flail. Honestly. I hope it's hilarious but I haven't really been given that sort of feedback.

    Singing onstage more often is (perhaps oddly) teaching me to develop contingencies for unfortunate situations. After an awkward (and awkwardly long) pause for chit-chat with the audience while our guitarist replaced a broken string last month, I realized we had to have set patter and a couple of a cappella tunes in our back pocket to keep things moving the next time something goes awry mid-gig.

    Largely this is because while I feel I am naturally and unintentionally COMPLETELY hilarious, hilarity and charm on command is sometimes a challenge... Sarah B

  4. Sarah, I think you make a good point about feeling naturally equipped to deal with situations. You ARE naturally charming and hilarious, so it makes sense that you haven't developed coping mechanisms for situations that call for those things. I, on the other hand, am NOT NATURALLY EQUIPPED to deal with my beet salad going bad, so I have provisions standing by. I've been thinking a lot about stuff like this because I am not talented at academic writing, but perversely I think perhaps that may make me a better writing teacher? I can share with my students the strategies and coping mechanisms I've developed BECAUSE they are not natural innate skills? Still needs more thought, probably.