The announcement came over the campus emergency intercom from the Administration office, informing us that building 800 had been closed. And nothing more. It was a bit of a mystery until a student dropped by and filled in the details.
Apparently, the morning’s robust winds had acted as grim-tree-reaper to a majestic old oak on campus. Breaking mid-trunk, it fell right onto the Language Arts & Social Sciences building. No one was hurt – which was a blessing – but it knocked a hefty hole in the roof. According to this student’s enthusiastic account, the crash had occurred during her American Government class, the tree ripping right through the classroom’s ceiling. The good news? Their exam was cancelled. I was amused by her response to the unfortunate event as she easily identified the silver lining in that dark cloud.
Soon, the Administration had more information for us and we began passing on the news – good or bad – depending on how it was viewed by the recipient. No one was happy about the fallen tree or the damage to the building. However, most students responded positively to the proclamation that classes in 800 were cancelled.
“Sweet,” one student said, flipping open his iPhone (or whatever) as he turned to leave. Maybe he had a date with a gaming application or would use the extra time to bond with his play station.
“All right!” another student said. “Later.” He turned toward the exit and walked through the door with a light step. And a purpose.
For them, it was a great gift and I enjoyed giving it.
But one woman was deeply disappointed. “Oh, no! I was taking a make-up test tonight and I’m SO ready!”
I sympathized with her. When is one ever really prepared for a test? Besides, she’d driven quite a ways to the hinterlands of Shasta College, only to find her class cancelled.
Then a student came in and asked, “What do I do if my class was in 800?”
“You get to go home early,” I said, trying not to be jealous. “Classes in that building are cancelled until further notice.”
She clapped her hands. “Goodie! Now I can go to the casino and gamble. My husband won’t suspect a thing!”
Oh, dear. How does one respond to that?
Nothing came to mind. Understandable, since she and her hapless hubby were strangers to me. I wondered what life must look like in that household. Ouch.
The gal bounced out of the Library like she’d just won the lotto. Which she probably plays often, come to think of it. Somehow, I felt a little compliant, like I was aiding and abetting her bad habits, cluing her in about this unexpected free time. She seemed to possess a natural leaning toward the world of high rollers.
Why couldn’t she be a holy roller instead?
I shook off the notion. It was none of my business. And not my problem. I had my own time issues to figure out. Retirement was just around the corner. Would I spent it wisely?
As they say, time will tell.