Thursday, April 14, 2005

When the Rain Comes...

Louisiana is one of the few places where rain brings nearly everything to a halt. It's almost as bad as, say, snow in Washington, D.C.

Six people (out of about 23) showed up for my 9am class on Monday because a torrential downpour flooded the streets and apartment complex parking lots, or, maybe, these students woke up, saw it was raining, and just decided to roll over and go back to sleep. I wish, at times, that I could do that, too. To be truthful, on days when I don't have to get up early (which are few), I tend to loll about in bed longer than I normally would. One thing I can say, though, is that I seldom skip work or any other appointment because "it's raining too hard."

As I reminded my students on Wednesday, when a majority of them did show up, I drive 45 miles one way, every day that I work. I watch the weather--indeed, the weather report has become my "horoscope." It's the cornerstone of my day. If the weather is dreary, rainy, foggy, windy, I need to know. Driving on a two-lane highway requires a knowledge of the elements, if only for time's sake. If weather conditions warrant an early start, then I make an early start. I seldom leave my house with "just enough time to spare" to get to any place I need to be. I usually start an hour early, just to give me time in case of an accident on the road, slow trucks, or bad driving conditions.

But, I suppose, that's the difference in our ages. Time and age have taught me that punctuality is a virtue, as is dedication. My work ethic is such that I can't imagine missing a day just because I don't feel like working. Let's face it, if that were a legitimate criteria for skipping work, few of us would ever show up. What I know is that people depend on me to be where I'm supposed to be. If I don't show up at the bookstore, or I arrive late, someone's lunch is delayed, the schedule gets off-track, and the rest of the day goes to hell in a rose-colored handbasket. As an instructor in a college, I've made a commitment to teach my classes and my students would get pretty upset with me if I routinely blew them off.

Honoring my commitments is important to me and says a great deal about who I am as a person. I realize, of course, that many of my students haven't cultivated that mind-set, and many of them probably won't unless they are pushed to it. But, that's the great thing about time and age--usually, maturity is a by-product, if only by default.

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