Glasgow and Me, Part… Um, Six? Five No, Six

I handed in my marks yesterday, then came home and dissolved into a jelly-like goo. I was worn out from marking, and also having my predictable end-of-term let-down, intensified by my being alone in Glasgow. So I watched the last episode of The Wire and just zoned out.
I’ve never worked under this system of grading: I never (in theory) know whose exams or essays I’m marking, since all the paperwork comes through Christine, our Departmental Secretary. Everything is identified by numbers. I assign the marks (and make comments) on our 22-point scale, and direct the numbered evaluations back through Christine. She handles the spreadsheet with marks and percentages and so on, an assigns the summative grade to each student. This way, I don’t agonize over whether Annabelle tries hard, or how Rodney has disappointed me by working below his potential, or whatever. You’re Number 08073333, and I think your essay was a 17. Bingo. It’s liberating, in a way, although it doesn’t transform marking into a paradisal activity. (I can, if I’m determined, figure out identities for some work — but I prefer not to know, so even though I could, I won’t.) More marking next year, as I will be convenor for the NT Introduction.
Then today, I made a quick trip to the office to leave gifts for Christine and Meg and Helen, and to shut down my computer for the duration of my trip to Chicago. From there I went to the Cathedral, where we had an pleasant clergy-team meeting, and thence went to lunch with the other clergy. I already knew John Riches (I caught a misspelling of his name in the Wabash Center “Should We Teach The Historical-Critical Method?” round-table article in Teaching Theology and Religion) from New Testament academic circles, and it’s always a delight to converse with him. Kelvin is the Provost, who has been so generously interested in bringing me aboard; and Caroline is the third member of the team, whom I’d only just met in passing at church. We had a jolly old time talking about the up-coming episcopal election in Glasgow and Galloway, about some of the oddities of liturgy at St Mary’s (we deploy a double corporal to extend the area of the altar blessed at the Eucharist, but for a newcomer priest it’s very perplexing that the corporal you see first is off-center, and it seems to be overlapping another, and what about the lump in the middle, and so on), and weddings. A lovely time, and most intoxicatingly promising for time ahead spent working with these estimable colleagues.
Then I went gift shopping, about which I can’t say too much except you wouldn’t think I’d have to go all the way to the City Centre to find coal for my children. But coal I found, in interesting colors for each, plus some intriguing items that we’ll have to figure out how to distribute. I was going to have fajitas tonight, but I forgot that the fajita special applies only Sunday through Thursday, so I rolled home and settled in for the evening. I’ve been managing my grocery purchases so carefully that I’m running out of foods a little ahead of schedule.
I continue to be mystified by my toy washer-dryer (“I’m sorry, AKMA, but I can’t wash both legs of those trousers in the same load”). The same cycle will somedays end up with clothes wet to the point of dripping one day, but on the next day will produce hot, dry clothing with intense wrinkling. I think it’s a “wheel of fortune” model, and there’s a random factor built in to heighten the excitement.
And I’m realizing that I’ll actually be sad to leave Glasgow, even to see my family, even only for a week. Partly it’s that I’m just getting the hang of it; partly it’s my innate homebody nature; but also partly I’ll be missing all the far-reaching ways that I’ve been made to feel welcomed and valued here. I do like it here.

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