Sunday, December 13, 2009

Extravagent Happiness

There are certain things I like to do that make me happy. I think I sometimes resist them because they seem too superfluous or extravagant. Tomorrow is the last day of the class I'm auditing at NYU. The students who are actually enrolled are presenting their final projects, and I'm actually really looking forward to it. I bet no one will expect me to show up. One of the other auditors said goodbye as she walked out of the room last week, but I'm curious to see what they all will come up with. Maybe I'm looking forward to it because I don't teach graduate students, so the chance to watch grad students engage with the course material through their personal projects just sounds downright exciting. Okay, maybe that's too strong of a word. But I am looking forward to it.

That's not what's making me happy, though. Since this is the last day of class, and I'm not auditing a class next semester, this is my last trip for awhile. I hopped on Priceline last week and ended up getting a nice hotel room for the night tonight, and I'm typing from my room at a hotel that overlooks Ground Zero, though it's a different hotel that overlooks it than the one I stayed at in October. Not to be a shill for the company, but Priceline can be lead to some pretty great deals. I kept getting warnings that the price I was offering was too low (less than the 50% they said would be necessary to get something), but this place took it. You just have to be damn sure you want the room since you get charged for it. When my offer was accepted the other night, I walked downstairs and told Da Man, "Remember when I said I was thinking of spending the night in NYC? Well, I hope it's okay if I'm doing it on Sunday." He laughed. We've had similar conversations where he's been the one who tried out a ridiculously low price on a whim and had it accepted.

And though it's taken me a bit to get to my point, I really like hanging out here in the hotel room in my pajamas with my netbook and a silly movie I've seen fifty times on the television (in this case, Independence Day). I have a loyalty card for the hotel that got me free internet and access to the concierge floor. Since I saved a bit of money there, I decided to splurge on room service. It's been a horribly wet, dark, drippy day, which is perfect for sitting in the hotel room with the curtains wide open to the dark sky. I even graded tonight, as crazy as that may sound. I curled up in the easy chair and went through the memos and PowerPoints from last week's presentations in my intro to professional writing class. I emailed grades to all of my students and just have to go through their optional revisions, which many of them completed, to finish the semester. Well, to finish the grading. There's still administrative work as well as those phone interviews for the tenure-track position we have open.

Tomorrow, though, I'll hit the library. As my Facebook/Twitter question about scotosis last week probably made clear, I'm starting a project and want to do some background research into the framework I'm thinking of using. I've got a list of books and, thanks to Google Books, pages I want to look at. I might even get a haircut or something. I certainly need it.

The genesis for this entry came today when I was on the train. Like I said, it was dark and rainy, but it looked quite beautiful from the train, which was a bit quiet today (at least in the last car). I was doing a little reading, listening to some recent downloads on the iPod, and looking out the window quite a bit. Even the abandoned, graffiti-covered buildings had a certain sheen to them in the damp twilight. It made me think how I'm sometimes happiest when I'm alone yet surrounded by people, quiet people doing their own reading, listening, and looking. I'm lucky I can even consider taking the train into the city and hanging out for the night.

And I plan to take advantage of that luck when I can.

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