Usually in journals we concentrate on what distinguishes one day from the others. But sometimes it’s good to contemplate what our days have in common. As Terry Whitefeather once said, “My typical day is never typical,” but nevertheless some general patterns emerge. Forthwith, a “typical” weekday.
We wake up to the sound of music. For years now I’ve had iTunes programmed to wake up at a set time, usually 6:00 AM, and start cranking out the jams. The music is pumped to various locations throughout the house via wifi. Xy rises first since she has to be at school so early, while I lie in bed with the girl. (We’re all sleeping together these days, and least in the latter half of the night.) I usually rise by the time Xy’s out the door. Sometimes the girl wakes early, sometimes she sleeps in and I have to wake her. Eventually she gets up and gets a diaper change. I strap her to my chest and walk her to daycare. It’s a very short walk, but a highlight of the day. After dropping her off, I walk back home and take care of any unfinished business. For example, if I didn’t have a chance to eat breakfast before bundling the girl off, I feed myself at this time, usually a bowl of granola mixed with All-Bran Extra Fiber in soy milk.
Then it’s off to work. I have been riding my bike to work on a daily basis for about nine years now. Lots of people regard this as some sort of virtuous exercise in self-discipline, but in truth it’s so much more pleasurable than driving a car. It takes me about ten minutes to get from home to campus. I lock my bike up and head into my building, greeting whoever’s behind the reference desk, taking the elevator to the fifth floor. I say hi to Olivia who’s usually there before me. I unlock my office and power up my computer. If it’s early I check my e-mail; if it’s late I run down the back stairwell and grab a cup of coffee with my klatsch. I usually sit around with those guys for the length of time it takes to drink a cup. A lot of BS gets shoveled around, and the occasional pearl of wisdom, not to mention a good amount of gossip and scuttlebutt. Then I make my way back up to my office, where I generally brew myself a pot of coffee, and then I really get down to work.
A lot of people don’t understand what it is that I do. For years I would tell people I’m a multimedia artist, which is true, and that would lead to all kinds of interesting conversations. More recently I’ve experimented with telling people I work in faculty development, which is also true, but I’ve found this tends to nip the conversation in the bud. Technology is sexy and exciting, but faculty development sounds academic and dry. From a sheer physical standpoint, much of my work day is spent hunched over a computer, or meeting with people, or reading from books and journals, and occasionally addressing groups of people, but this of course misses the point. It’s mainly intellectual work. I would say that I am trying to keep abreast of certain trends in a rapidly shifting culture, and share what I learn with others. I do this primarily by playing around. Play is a necessary part of development, and constant development is what we’re after here. So that’s why I love my job.
I try to bring my lunch as often as possible. My standard lunch is a carrot, a sandwich, and an apple. I don’t usually take a break for lunch. I continue working (playing) right on through.
The afternoon is more of the same, except I never drink coffee after noon. I might have a cup of tea though. I generally feel less creative in the afternoons, so I try to tackle more mundane tasks at that time.
I ride the bike back home. There’s usually a chore to do like emptying the dishwasher. Our purported template is that Xy picks Persephone up in the afternoons, but because she’s a teacher she’s constantly having to stay late, and so this often falls on me in practice. I don’t mind.
Sometimes I make dinner, sometimes Xy does. Often we’ll have a beer to tide us over to dinner time. Often we’ll watch the Warren Easton High School Marching Band come down our street, but that’s a seasonal thing. The girl seems to enjoy it.
After dinner, and a bath for the girl, Xy has her homework. This is a constant. It’s only a question of how much on any given night. We might watch some TV while she does her work, or more likely a DVD from Netflix, or perhaps we listen to music. The girl usually falls asleep between 7:30 and 8:30. These days we generally confine our video viewing until after she’s asleep, since she is now clearly able to watch the screen.
Then I might take a bath, have a nightcap, or a bowl of cereal, read a little bit, or a write a little bit.
And of course I have to compose the next morning’s playlist before I go to sleep.