Well – it’s April 14th and it’s snowing… again. This is our fifth spring-winter-spring flip-flop in 5 weeks. A couple of days ago it was sunny and warm, the snow had all melted (yet again!) and I was digging through my closet looking for capris and t-shirts. You think I’d have learned by now – but, you see, this is not typical of spring in Edmonton. In Edmonton (usually), the snow melts, the sun shines, the ground dries and then the trees bud. A nice, neat, linear progression to summer. By late April temperatures are soaring up to the 20s (that’s the 70s in regular units) and the trees are fully leafed out by May 15. None of this backtracking crap. Usually…
So, yeah, we ‘re getting a bit behind schedule here. But am I angry, am I sad? No siree, not me. In fact, I am ecstatic! Why is this, you ask? Because it’s April 14th and that means SCHOOL IS OUT! No more classes for this girl until January 2013 – that’s TWO OH ONE THREE! That’s TWENTY THIRTEEN! (Holy crap – what happened to the first decade of the millennia? I don’t remember any of it!)
Anyway, not to worry about that. The thing to keep in mind is that I don’t teach again until January 2013 and that’s a whopping 8.5 months away! So I am one happy camper. Sure, I still have a two foot high stack of term papers to mark. Sure, I still have an exam to set and 65 of them to mark afterwards. And sure, the river breakup season is imminent and I am about to pull a slew of all-nighters. And, oh ya, I do still have a to-do list that’s longer than War and Peace. But hey, not to worry about that – I am insanely happy, because school – is – out!
Why does this make me so happy? After all, I am a professor. Don’t I like teaching? Or am I one of those nasty professors that hates teaching and only cares about research? Not at all – I actually love teaching! But it takes me 20+ hours a week to prep and deliver the lectures, labs and assignments, another 30+ hours a week to keep up with the research and another 10+ hours a week to keep up with administrative stuff. So the end of classes means I ramp down from a 60 hour work week to a 40 hour work week – SWEET!
Sure the end of term made me happy when I was a student – but I merely thought I knew what happiness was back then. Only as a professor have I come to fully comprehend true happiness. (I’m so darned happy, I’m even willing to split an infinitive!) It’s a euphoria that happens only twice a year and it lasts for only a brief few days. All professors, no matter how curmudgeonly, catch the fever – in fact, for some this is the only thing that ever makes them smile. We all walk the halls in a delirious trance, grinning idiotically.
“Are you done?” we all ask each other as we meet.
“Yes, isn’t it fantastic?” we all ask in return.
“Oh yes, I am so f*&$ing happy!” we all reply.
Sure, it will only be a week or two until some jerk ruins it by saying to us, “Say, isn’t school out? You must be off for the summer now. Boy, I wish I got paid to have the summers off!”
But I don’t bother to correct them anymore. And today, I can’t even get peeved thinking about it. You see my tomato plants are sprouting and my summer beer is brewing. I am going to have my weekends and evening to relax and catch up on life and I might even take a few weeks vacation and work on my second novel! And, because I am on sabbatical this fall, my teaching break last until January, that’s 2 – 0 – 1 – 3. (Holy crap – last time I looked at my watch it was 1992! Where did that 20 years go?)
Still, it’s April 14th, and it’s snowing… again. What an absolutely fabulous day!