So today was a snow day, after a Snowmageddon that wasn’t, at least in New York City (OK, at least in Manhattan). But since I don’t cross-country ski to work, I stayed home and watched Columbus Avenue be empty of cars. I thought I’d get a ton of reading done, but it was more phone calls with clients and wrangling recalcitrant children who didn’t want to do their homework when there was perfectly good loafing to be done instead.
The other thing this storm did was cause my first class of my teaching gig at NYU to be cancelled. It was awful. I felt like a marathoner who pulled a muscle walking to the starting line, or an astronaut when liftoff is aborted at “5…4…3…NONONO.”
I mean, I had BUILT to Monday. Wrote beautiful slides on OneNote (love that OneNote!), thought of the anecdotes to tell, emailed my students with guidelines and suggestions, carb-loaded…and then at 2 PM, “NONONO.” And now not only do I need to wait till next week, but I have to rejigger my syllabus completely. We’re being given permission to extend two classes by a half-hour each (our classes are already 2 ½ hours, so the students will be very excited, I’m sure, to go till 9:30 PM a couple of times), and we’ll be losing an hour and a half of class time. For a seven-session course, this is a serious issue.
The other thing is that I’d based the course (which is about the Role of the Literary Agent) on working through the life-cycle of a book from First Query through a year after publication, and had pretty specific places to end lessons. Now we’ll have to adjust, and it may not be elegant. My wife and mother, both veteran teachers, are looking at me with benign amusement. Apparently my stress-dream that I’m in the right classroom at the right time with only one student and nobody else showing up is both normal and adorable. What can I say? At least I wasn’t naked, too.
And it’s funny—I LOVE teaching. I spoke to a multitude of classes about baseball when I was in that part of my life, and have given so many Query Letter and Pitch seminars in the past 8 years that I have a patter and confidence. But I’ve heard my wife and mother talk so often about “their” classrooms—they have great ownership of their space, and it was one of the aspects of teaching that I’m most looking forward to feeling. Now I’ve got to wait a week.
And all because of a storm that, in my old stomping grounds of Watertown, NY, they would have called “flurries” and not even called for extra plows. (Yes I know, the radar was awful and I wouldn’t be so smug in, say, Old Lyme Ct or Cape Cod. And I’m GLAD the Mayor was overcautious. He’s in an impossible situation, and I am glad he chose to be aggressive about it. I just, for once in my life, was bummed to have a snow day.)