Thursday, February 06, 2020

Is this a good time?

Friday was a mess.  I woke before my alarm, dreaming of eating gummi bears, which then pulled out the temporary crown I have on a back molar. Surprise! The crown had fallen out in the night, no help from gummi bears (which I have given up for the duration of this dental adventure, which will end just in time for the start of Lent.) Thankfully I hadn't swallowed it. (Do not google "swallowed crown." Just don't.)

I was at my desk by 6:30 am, working to finish a National Science Foundation grant proposal that was due soon. (And yes, apparently unlike the chair of Harvard's chemistry department, I did disclose my (unpaid) connections with a foreign state's scientific institute.) I called the dentist when they opened, they could glue me back together just after 11. Perfect, I have class at noon.

I finish the grant, let the grant's officer know she can check it, fingers crossed we can submit before the end of the day. Do the last bits of prep (naked eggs and handouts) for the two hour class I'll teach at noon, grab my keys and the baggie with my crown in it and head out to the dentist and then the college.

The crown gets cemented back in while I contemplate adhesive chemistry (what would it take to make an adhesive that will stick well, but then be reversible??).  I dash to the college. I don't get in my door before crisis 1 presents itself.

Crisis 2 arrives just before class.
Crisis 3 arrives at the start of class (incredibly dysfunctional tech).
Crisis 4 sends an email while I'm in class. Can we talk? Yes.
Crisis 5 knocks on the door. Can you talk? Yes.

Grants officer finds a typo, fix it and it's ready. AAAGH.  Crisis 6: the file is scrambled. I pull back a previous version. And find another typo.

Crisis 7 calls. Can you talk? Sure. I'll be in your office in fifteen.

The phone rings and I — foolishly — answer it. It's someone who wants to talk about quantum mechanics and a paper I wrote. I say this isn't a good time. He persists. Really, this is a terrible time. Crisis 7 is now knocking on my door. I have to go now. He persists.

I hang up on him.

I apologized by email. It wasn't well received. Crisis 8 came and crisis 9 followed. And it was still Friday. But the grant narrative got fixed and submitted.

Also, it made me think about how I don't always think about what might be happening on the recipient's end when I send an email request or make a phone call.


  1. After all this, you also need a day of rest. *hugs*

  2. What a day!! Yet after all that, you reflected on the impact of your communication on others and whether you’re interrupting them. Thanks for that reminder.

  3. All of my life I have loved mist, fog, clouds, grey on grey.
    now this northern winter hue is beginning to wane.Grey is cancer color for brain cancer which has taken up residence. A little weary, Lentnwill help.