Monday, November 29, 2010


I have a colleague who used to come back to the office at night and work until the wee hours of the morning.  He doesn't do it anymore -- childcare keeps him at home during his off hours -- but I'll bet he misses it.

There's something about a college campus at night.  The few classrooms still in use call to you from their lighted windows.  The library buzzes.  If there are staffpeople still working at desks or counters, they are not the same people you see during the day.  It's like there's a night shift; everything switches, the view darkens and becomes illuminated, the activities change, and those of us who go home at five o'clock will never know it.

Tonight I exited my evening obligation into a cool mist.  It had rained all day, and as the front moved through with relatively warm air, fog blanketed the streets, lawns, and sidewalks.  Lampposts wore halos.  Under the spreading shade trees, the ground crackled and popped -- moisture still falling from the autumn leaves, along with the occasional brief hailstorm of acorns.

I walked slowly to my car, parked in a space reserved for the dean; for tonight, I'm close enough.  Beside my station wagon in the other two deans' spots were unfamiliar cars -- students at the library or at study groups, making the relatively safe bet that the deans won't be stopping by at nine o'clock on a Monday night.  As I backed out, a truck waited patiently for me to vacate.  It was inconsiderate of me to be present and in my proper space, I know.  Time for me to turn the campus over to those who own it for the night.

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