Friday, February 16, 2007

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

It is cold in the northeast.

I'm sitting in a writing class at 8:15 on a Friday morning.

I'm supposed to be asleep right now. Fridays are supposed to be my light day, academically speaking. I have one class at 1:40 in the afternoon, so I can sleep in, relax, and then wander over to school for an hour and a half, and then head out into the city with friends.

Three days a week I start at 8:30 in the morning. Wednesday is supposed to be one of those days.

This week, Wednesday was the first day that nature finally decided to show me what "winter" actually means. I grew up where there wasn't a real winter, so this was a new experience for me. I was prepared, though. Heavy coat, check. Waterproofed shoes, check. Gloves, check.

So I wake up early Wednesday morning, fire up my computer, and check my email. Lo and behold, an email from my writing professor saying that, because of the inclement weather, she will not be coming in to class today.

Now keep this in mind: my school is not closed. I still have to go in for my class at 10:15, and I'm already awake. It is not worth going back to sleep, so instead I relax for a while in my apartment. I finally go outside and brave the cold, the wind, and the sleet, and make my way to my contracts class.

At this point, I would like to talk about sleet. Where I grew up, we did not have snow. Maybe once a decade, some snow would fall at the highest point in town, but it would never stick once it hit the ground. There would be hail occasionally, of different sizes, and it was fun to stand on the porch and watch these tiny balls of ice pound onto the sidewalk. Sleet, however, is a horse of a different color. Instead of balls of ice, sleet is frozen rain. And it STINGS. The street I live on has winds that alternate directions from day to day. Wednesday's patterns meant that it was interesting to walk from east to west (towards school), navigating frozen intersections and snowy sidewalks. It also meant that it was painful to walk from west to east (towards my apartment), braving not only the frozen intersections and snowy sidewalks, but doing it all with sleet whipping in and stinging my face and eyes almost shut. I enjoy cold weather, but sleet is something else.

But back to the story. My writing professor tells us that we can make up our class on Friday morning, joining her 8:30 section that day. Meanwhile, another class has scheduled (and rescheduled and rescheduled and rescheduled) a training session for 9:00 Friday morning. A few more back-and-forth emails between my classmates and our writing professor gets the class moved back another half hour to 8, which is why I'm sitting here way too early in the morning.

So today, instead of just a Constitutional law class in the afternoon, I have a writing class at 8 in the morning, a training session at 9, and Con law at 1:40. On top of that, a leak in the roof above the fifth floor makes my fourth floor apartment smell like something between a wet dog and rotting wood thanks to the water that made its way down into my walls.

You've got to love winter in the northeast. At least I'm finally seeing a little bit of what I signed up for when I moved out here.

And fate has granted us a three day weekend to make up for this early morning suffering, so if I brave the weather it will be for something fun instead of to go to class. And it will definitely be after 11 in the morning at the earliest.

And before I sign off, my favorite quote from the semester so far, courtesy of my criminal law professor, talking about different theories of punishment:

"You understand 'eye for an eye' and 'tooth for tooth.' You may not agree with it, but you understand it. But what you get for 50 grams of coke doesn't exactly come from the bible."