Day in the Life: Professor Steve Andrews

4:15 a.m.—I wake up before alarm, yet wake up with alarm. A disturbing dream. Why now? I have a nagging feeling of if, to misquote someone really important.
4:30 a.m.—First cup of coffee. Click on TV. World seems not to have budged much for all its breaking news. What do I really want the news to say? If I could get the news to say what I want it to say, wouldn’t that just be fake news?
I would prefer to think of it as my lucky day.
5 a.m.—ablutions. A favorite word of a former colleague, which I now render down to hot water and soap. Ablute.
5:30 a.m.—Second cup of coffee. Check email, forget to check calendar.
6 a.m.—Sheree’s already downtown working out. Good grief! But actually I envy her. Can’t muster the willpower that early. So “workout” looms over me all day.
6:05 a.m.—…and another thing about that dream was not specific detail so much or the feeling — but a looming, too.
6:15 a.m.—I Walk to Work.
6:30 a.m.—Start grading papers. No, go make another cup of coffee. Grade papers after all.
8:30 a.m.—Beautiful spring morning. Head to Grinnell House to pick up job candidate.
8:50 a.m.—I’ve waited long enough. I’m getting antsy. We are in danger of being late for the first interview session. I ask Grinnell House attendant to notify _______________ that someone from the English Department is here to pick them up. After flurry of phone calls, am reminded that the candidate will be here next week.
9 a.m.—All dressed up: My Outlook, My Life. Beautiful spring morning. Head back to Mears.
10 a.m.—Meet with a committee to go over list of candidates and nominate student for fellowship. We nominate and we do some planning and we feel good about it.
11 a.m.—Back to Mears. Grade papers.
11:50 a.m.—… and just like that it hits me. Of course!
12 p.m.—Another committee meeting. I say hi to two of my fellows from the previous meeting. This meeting comes with a Jimmy John’s BLT. Forgot to order soda. Damn! We discuss survey questions, meeting space and wording of invitation to an open-session to discuss issues, concerns and suggestions. I leave a little early…
1 p.m.—… in order to represent department at department fair for prospective students and parents. Chat with several students, likely English majors, who say they are coming to Grinnell.
2 p.m.—Back to Mears to grade papers.
3:15 p.m.—Visit colleague, read about and discuss Teddy Roosevelt. In his North Dakota days, other cowboys called him “Old Four Eyes.” I learned that when I was a kid, from a performance in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Sheree and I camped there when we were just getting to know each other. That was, like, 30 years ago.
4:15 p.m.—Off to Peace Tree to visit an alum from ’00 — my first year of teaching here.
When you put it that way, “of course” dissolves into a vague uneasiness, in spite of the signs posted otherwise.
4:30 p.m.—Alum reunion. Red Rambler Ale. We discuss Charles Olson, hip-hop and social justice. Alum knows his way around all three. I listen in stunned amazement.
6:25 p.m.—Say goodbye to Alum at JRC and walk back to Mears, buoyed by a gift of two vinyl albums of his most recent work. Now to find a turntable.
8:10 p.m.—Sheree’s home. There is no one else that I would rather see.
11:45 p.m.—I’m thinking of going to sleep. As you can see, I’ve skipped a couple of hours, parts of which involved popcorn, cable and cleaning up cat puke. Iowa, the cat, is old. She’s earned the right.
Lights out, and I’m feeling again the bite of dimwittedness retrospectively trying to transform into wisdom. That dream again.