Here I am in Valdosta, prepping for the 2008 Georgia Governor’s Honors Program. It is always a very strange mise en scene: I arrive, alone in the dorm, with three other administrators, who are in other dorms. The campus is nearly empty between semesters; the very sidewalks have an unreal quality, as if carved out of someone’s imagination for the occasion and witnessed by me in some kind of hallucination.
It is my job to begin the incantations to bring this place to life, to begin generating the lists and pieces of paper and keys and classrooms and bedtime stories that make it possible for this place to rise from the haze of the Valdosta heat every June.
I have a script I follow: over the years I have put together a step-by-step How to Start GHP kind of document. I have come to rely on it and am consequently startled by some of the steps. Because I’ve written them into a document, a booke of magyck, I don’t have to remember them, and sometimes I don’t.
My competence is comforting to me. A couple of years ago I found myself in charge of the keys to the classrooms. They were just handed to me, in a tangled mess from previous years, and I had to hammer out the truth of who needed what and what we had to give them and what we had to squeeze from Key Services. In accordance with the Lyles Theorem of Process Development, it is the third summer of my being in charge and I have perfected it. Tonight I hit a button in my database, printed out a sheet of paper for each instructor, and pulled keys from this super-organized key box I made them buy me last summer.
What took me weeks of agony the first summer was done, and accurately, in about 40 minutes. I have two people who need completely new sets of keys, but I know who they are and what they need. By the time they get here tomorrow, their keys will already have been requested.
There are always glitches, of course. This year it’s the fact that VSU’s semester just ended on Friday, so they’re scrambling nobly to switch our classrooms out from their rows of desks to our tables and chairs, and to deliver the hundreds of boxes of stuff to all the rooms. My problem is that the sixteen or so crates of stuff for the faculty dorm have not been delivered. I usually am through unpacking all of that by now. However, that’s kind of minor. I can work around not having my office supplies for the most part, although I wish I had my bathmat and my martini glasses. Let’s get our priorities straight here!
I’ve even had time to exercise, if you can call a brisk stroll around the Magic Square exercise. No time to work on anybody’s music, of course. That probably is not going to happen until next week, after I get the minors sorted out on Thursday.
Tomorrow the faculty arrives. Sunday the kids arrive. And so it begins again.