“Can’t you even hedge a bet that a snow storm is UNLIKELY to hit in April!!??”

(The immortal words of Dr Rieppel upon a similar occasion last year.)

Tuesday was weird in many ways. It was also good with puns.

(Sunday, Olivia asked Pastor a linguistic question about the difference between hearing and understanding, and he wound up his answer with “The point is sound”, which may have been unintentional, but was pretty good.)

It began with Olivia and me barging off to SMSU almost as normal, except that she nearly forgot snacks and had to run back inside for them. (Those looking for proof that she really does have a cold, look no further.) On Classical MPR the announcer said the programming today was sponsored in part by the Guthrie, now playing Cyrano de Bergerac, and he had two pairs of tickets to give away, so if you have a nose for theatre, call the usual number.

We stopped at the cemetery for the first time since winter (they never plough the cemetery road and with all the snow we had, it was impassable), and at the time it was perfectly clear of snow, and the road hadn’t even washed out.

Then while Olivia was in class a girl walked by, all smiley, and sat down nearby, and asked if I always sit there and so on, and a few minutes after the favourite-book question I mentioned Mere Christianity, and she said she has it. So. . . that was interesting.

After class, by arrangement, we and Nolan were going to have lunch with one of their classmates, Henry by name, because he’s pro-choice and made some interesting points in the abortion debate they had to start the semester. One of the things he said was that if any of the pro-lifers were in an inconvenient pregnancy “they would want that choice”, which goes to show he didn’t know them very well (Nolan wants him to see Unplanned at any cost). He came when we’d finished eating, and we started actually with a bit of small talk (he’s from our town too), and then got into abortion. Except we didn’t stay there very long, because it so quickly got into the question of authourity — what’s the ultimate standard for knowing, well, anything? He was polite and articulate but also very very wrong. Except he believes people are fallen and flawed, which is a good place to start. He seems open to talking more, although we shall see. He did say he didn’t think he was too opinionated about abortion, but then when he asked us what would change our minds and received a chorus of “Nothing” he said “Yeah. Nothing”, although perhaps as a good Relativist that doesn’t bother him. (Nolan advertised Unplanned to him.)

In the middle of the conversation someone leaned on the railing above us and loudly opened his mouth in dark sayings. All four of us froze and looked up. My first thought was that we were going to get told off for debating abortion so publicly, which would be a shame, especially as I’d been in a philosophy class with the speaker before. My second thought was that perhaps he had something to add. But pretty soon he got to the subject of his sentence and it became clear that he was not talking to us — he was in fact talking to a classmate who was on our side of the room but on the upper floor.

Once Henry hesitantly said (trying to be polite) that it seemed to him, personally, that to derive answers to moral questions from one’s religion seems very, well, closed-minded. So of course I said, quoting Chesterton, the object of having an open mind, as that of an open mouth, is to shut it again on something solid. And again he said “I don’t believe there’s any moral commandments set in stone”, which was an interesting unintended pun. And a third time he said “I don’t believe God’s going to float down out of the sky and talk to us,” and both Nolan and I said that as a matter of fact he had. Only a bit more concretely, of course.

Eventually Nolan stood up and said he had to print a paper before his one-thirty class, and for the next eight minutes by the microwave clock he stood with his hands on the back of his chair, continuing the debate. But both guys had one-thirty classes, so eventually they had to leave.

And then as Olivia and I were leaving the little cafeteria, a guy eating lunch at one of the tables near ours said, very shyly, “Excuse me?” and we both knew exactly what he was going to ask. And he did, and we explained we’d started with abortion and gotten around to epistemology — and that’s how we met another Baptist on campus. He’s pro-life, too.

Then it was all fun and games until suppertime, except that Olivia said while she was copying music in the FA office, Diana (the person who singlehandedly keeps FA sort of organized) had said three people near her had died recently, all of them per accident, all of them young. Olivia had said she understood exactly, and then had to explain that remark. . . so she and I printed out copies of the obit and Mr Dale’s letter, and delivered them to her later.

We were just done with supper and tidying up when a guy walking by upstairs leaned over the railing and said, “Does the orchestra rehearse right here?” It was a sensible question, but we didn’t know who he was or how he knew how we were in the orchestra (do we look that much like musicians?). We said no, it’s in FA, but we eat supper here.

“What do you play?” he asked, pointing to Olivia. Violin, she said. “And you?” pointing to me.

“She’s orchestra manager and librarian,” she said.

“Friend of yours?”

“She’s my sister!” Olivia said with a trace of indignation.

He knew Georgia was viola, and said “Hope it goes well for you. You guys are awesome!” and went away. Georgia told us how she knew him, so then it wasn’t so weird.

During rehearsal, at a spot in Finlandia which involves cymbals, the orchestra got stuck and our guest conductor had them go over it several times, so I chose the opportunity to go upstairs and see if Diana was still in her office, and if she was to ask if she had read the things we gave her and what she thought.

I got to the top of the stairs and saw her light was on, but she wasn’t in. Several theatre students were taking costumes apart and putting them back together in the lobby, and Diana was talking to Michelle the custodian and someone I didn’t know. Well, I certainly wasn’t about to slither up and say, “So, want to talk about suicide?” in that company, so I dithered at the top of the stairs. But she saw me and called “Were you looking for this?” holding up the cash box.

I panicked a little and said I had just been going for a walk, but it wouldn’t hurt to get it now, so I came over and took it. And then. . . she said she’d read the things we gave her (without prompting!) and we had a nice long conversation about that, in the middle of all the kids running around with bits of paper and fabric, and she hugged me twice, and I was more than ready for things to stop being weird.

And then in orchestra Mr Fortner made an elaborate analogy about a GPS and then added that Dvorak added a certain part “to drive the point home”, which may or may not have been intentional, but was still good.


In other news I am behind on Camp NaNo, because I’ve been working on at least two, sometimes three, other writing projects, which have been demanding, and I’ve written more than two thousand words today, but not in the TLL, so it doesn’t show in the stats. And I work all day Wednesdays, so there’s no getting anything done.


About Nolie Alcarturiel

I enjoy practically anything to do with medieval history, including the domestic arts, with an especial emphasis on the Anglo-Saxon Era. In my spare time I read endlessly, do medieval living-history, hold philosophical debates at the drop of a hat, and write books on even slighter provocation.
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