Nothing like two weeks of sub-zero temperature to make 29° F feel like a heat wave. I walked the dog in the morning snow, thinking, “I don’t need this parka. . . .”
Saturday night, as I was drifting to sleep, the thought crossed my mind that my laudatory address for Robert Brawley might be the next morning, not next week as I had thought. I drifted off to sleep, and when I woke up I was very sure that the address was next week.
Later in the day I was checking iCal to see whether I had a faculty meeting Monday morning, and my date for February 11 said, “SBL meeting/Brawley tribute.” As in, “AKMA, you just skipped the tribute and banquet in honor of your friend. People were standing around saying, ‘He said he’d be here; I wonder where he is.’ Instead of paying tribute to your admirable friend, you blew him off. You louse.”
So I drafted a letter that aimed for maximal explicit penitence without crossing the line into unbecoming groveling. I noted all the ironies and faults of skipping out on my commitment to deliver a paper called “Friends and Others, in Tribute to Robert Brawley.” I was fine-tuning my meek conclusion, when I decided to Google to pin down the timing of my blunder, and Google indicated that the meeting was in fact scheduled for next Sunday. So my question is, after having gone through all the agony of having actually missed the date, am I more relieved not to have missed it, or disappointed that the adrenalin surge and attendant rhetorical exercise in self-abnegation was for naught?