Thursday, November 08, 2012

there were two incidents that worked together to shake my confidence at the great corner this week, though overall i was lucky, as far as i was concerned, people were more polite than usual and more than willing to let me, a simple bicyclist, ride through the intersection. the first was that the sign that i press to make the walk sign flash, was unexpectedly knocked over, on the ground (see above), for no apparent reason, more than once. by now it has been replaced with a more solid post, and a new button, and i assume it works and i appreciate the city's timely response. but it was knocked over was as if, after someone's bashing into it, it was never the same again, and just couldn't stand on its own. i would lean over to press my button, sure that the button itself still worked; it might have.

then the day of the accident, i may have told this story, but it's stuck with me for some reason, a car, coming toward me to my left but leaving me plenty of time for me to cross the street, because i have the walk sign, and he's late turning left, well he starts to smash into these pieces of car and the pieces are flying out from beneath his wheels and toward me. they are a kind of aluminum-shiny color like they are the housing of a car's lights, metal alloy but very thin and brittle and crackly when you run them over. but nevertheless they are more or less flying toward me and you don't want to run over this stuff when you drive a car, let alone a bike. i dodge the pieces much as you dodge raindrops. there's only so much you can do. now i feel drained, like i need to rest and nurse my wounds, post pictures, reflect on my limited and banal existence. or better yet, play music.

then, i put this picture of a barn, right up against the english building where i work. it's my favorite place on campus. the problem is, they renovated the barn, painted it, made it shipshape and perfect-colored. i'll explain why that's a problem.

first of all, it reminded me of my grandpa, because of the mix of ornate, staid academia and farm-country functionality and barn shape. this was an ag college much as iowa state was where my grandpa would show us around. i heard a tour guide saying to a group of perspective students that it was traditionally called the "financial aid office" because there was this habit of bringing and creating food there through the ag program and any truly hungry students could hang out there and alwsys get fed. it was because of that sentimental attachment that, when they built new english buildings (as the one shown) and other new buildings around it, that the students got upset and didn't want them tearing the barn down. when told that they'd have to raise thirty grand (or some such amount) to save it, lo and behold, the students raised it.

but by renovating it, and painting it so carefully, they have now removed some of its character, its gentle paint-peeling farm-country essence, and that to me is somewhat sad. i don't want to criticize the university; i realize they do what they have to do, and had to make it look good, but, ah well, too bad, so much for the true farm country hanging in there right in the center of campus.

on the other side of that english building they've started a new construction project, an autism center, and that has caused dust and inconvenience and you-name-it. this is where i work, though. this is my new home. i have to find a way to fit in; i'm struggling. my patience has worn thin with the university politics scene; i can't bear to do what i have to, to keep my professional head above water. people are treating me ok, it's just that i'm tired of doing what i've done for twenty years. i'm still searching. i'm hoping to land a place, similar but different, that will really suit me. then maybe i wouldn't have to ride my bike so much.


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