The Challenge to remain Coherent

The temperature fell quickly Wednesday night so the shanty-towners and I congregated in Monroe Hall.  We spent a couple of hours exchanging food and stories before heading back outside around 11:30 pm.  It was a long night.  I was situated at the open end of the lean-to.  This made sense.  I get up earlier.  And, given that I was the professor, I was tasked with the responsibility of protecting the students.  Specifically, positioned at the open end of the lean-to, if the campus flasher were to appear I would take the full brunt – well, given the temperature outside maybe “full” is not the best descriptive term – of the attack.  Thursday morning could not come quickly enough.  On a number of occasions I rolled out to check the time on Chandler Hall’s clock.  When it hit 5:30 am I went to my office to grade exams and returned back out around 6:45 to meet a reporter for B101.5.  My 8 am class went well – maybe the adrenalin carry-over from the interview?  However, on my way back to the office before heading to my 9:30 am class, I felt my un-caffeinated brain start to get heavy and sluggish.  YET, bathing in a golden light at the front of my office door was a tall latte from Hyperion!  And, those who reside in Fredericksburg know that Hyperion makes some of the best espresso out there.  I do not say that casually nor am I uninformed about the art of espresso.  Thank you Liz!  I was giddy.  Before that first sip I was ready to cancel class.  I got to class and shared it with the shanty-towners.  Before this project, I would have never shared coffee – let alone any drink – with my students.  Now, after the past few nights, I could honestly say that we had bonded.  I shared it without a second thought.  I had been lucky to come upon a source of wealth.  A source of wealth that I knew most of us desired.  It was the right thing to do.  They were part of my extended family.

The latte got me through the first half-hour of class.  The lack of sleep, however, overwhelmed the caffeine and my performance suffered in the rest of that class and all day long.  It was a challenge simply to remain coherent.  We broke down the shanty-town around 4:30 pm (Thanks Christine, Isaac and Tom).  The Multi-cultural fair had jurisdiction over Ball Circle from then on.  Indeed, I kept thinking how grateful I was that we were not allowed to sleep out one more night.  It allowed me to save-face.  I do not know whether I would have been willing to sleep out another night.  Before returning to Richmond, some students (Christine, Dan and Katy) invited me to attend a Seder at the Christian Community Center.  Before dinner was served, time was set aside for any and all participants to voice a joy and a concern.  A number of individuals took advantage of this opportunity.  It reminded me of my days at Earlham College – a Quaker college.  It was a peaceful and reflective time.  Thank you guys!  I got home in time to tuck my son into bed.  The sun went down around 7:45 -8 and the lights had to go out – so, I just went to bed as well…in a bed.


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Thanks. – shawn

P.S. Read the Sidekick Manifesto and Take the Pledge!