This time the plane didn’t crash
What a fun day! Today is Mardi Gras and I’m reminiscing about my first and last trip to New Orleans for the party 17 years ago. Abe Lincoln’s 204th birthday, Darwin would also be 204 today (and I love it that he’s still going strong to the disdain of the religious right). Virginia kicked Virginia Tech’s butt in hoops—Wahoowa! I’m psyched for Michigan State vs. Michigan basketball—two excellent coaches, both teams ranked in the top-10 all the ingredients for a heated rivalry in a hostile Breslin Center, it doesn’t get better than that. Still receiving birthday love from peeps!
I survived my first night of thirty-seven. I woke up this morning and discovered that I have a few more prominent freckles under my eyes—and I love them. The larger event of the evening is that my reoccurring airplane dream didn’t end in a fiery crash.
For the last few years, I’ve sporadically had the same dream where I board an airplane with my dear friends the Kantwill family. We never arrive at the destination. (Side Note: I will NEVER take a flight with the Kantwills after these dreams).
The dream has only been different one other time and that was when my sister and mom were on the flight and my expired father made a cameo on the flight. He shows up in my dreams sometimes, but never with a face.
In this dream, I decide to take a last-minute flight to Japan. When I arrive to the airport, the ticket has already been purchased for me and I’m ushered out of the line and directly to the airplane. While waiting to push back, a severe thunderstorm arrives. I see myself looking out of the window as brilliant lightning lashes and loud claps of thunder boom. As quickly as the storm arrives, it clears out and we’re ready to begin our journey. I was also upgraded to first class and into a sleep cabin. The rest of the first-class cabin was filled with athletic media relations professionals and burly football players. I exit my cabin to go talk to the folks I know in first class. I’m not sure that we arrived in Japan, but we did not crash and that was a first for the agonizing airplane dream.
(I started this post last night, but got bored before I finished it. I didn’t change the tense).
I led a random man into my bedroom
Oh, now you’re ready to read the blog, huh?
I’m not above writing about those exploits, but today’s post is a mixture of trust, love and naivete all rolled into one darling handful named LT.
While a student at the University of Virginia, we commit to living a life of Honor in which there is no lying, cheating or stealing. The Honor code is one of the most distinctive features of student life at UVa with its extraordinary degree to which students are responsible for both themselves and for each other. You can leave your belongings in the library, go have lunch and they will be there when you return. If someone does try to take them, it is your responsibility to turn that person in. When you take an exam, you can leave the classroom and sit outside if you wish, because there is a code and you do not cheat.
Excellent values to live by, and create an amazing community of trust, togetherness, and well, honor. Once you’re outside of the gracious confines of the University, Albemarle County and City of Charlottesville, the world doesn’t work the same way.
The consequence for one penalty against the Honor Code is immediate expulsion from the University. The End.
Maybe that’s why I’ve never had an agenda in my jobs, or why I don’t play the “game” at work. Those things are not about Honor. Maybe that’s why I give people the benefit of the doubt until they lie, cheat or steal from me.
I’ve often times felt like the culture at the University prepared me to fail in some aspects, weird, huh? It is one of the top universities in the world and yet, I learned to fail. Naively, I make the assumption that people that I come in contact with all abide by the Honor Code and that their intentions are pure. You’re not in Kansas, anymore Dorothy.
For the move to Charlotte, the motto is: “If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t travel.” This means that I have several pieces of furniture to sell. I’m normally not one for matched pieces of furniture in a home, but I own my first matching bedroom suit since childhood and I love it! (Thanks for picking it out Breezy!). So it saddens me to have to part with it before I move. I also wanted only the very deserving to become the new owners of my furniture.
I posted ads on UMiami’s online classifieds and on South Florida’s Craigslist. Craigslist scares the beJesus out of me. But, a woman has to do what a woman has to do.
A few takers for my dining room table and chairs. I used “we” when I corresponded with the man on the other end of the phone, hoping he would assume that my boyfriend/husband/live-in lover was also at home. He arrives and I am home—alone—well the imaginary lover is…crap. I’m home alone. I invite him into my house, apologizing for my mess as I prepare to pack and move. He’s nice and gracious for the dining set. He seems harmless, I could probably give him a good fight if he tried anything, and I’m playing it cool. He takes the chairs outside while I take the legs from the table. When he comes back in, I ask him if he needs anything else, and that I’m selling a dresser and bookshelves.
“Why don’t you come to my bedroom and take a look at the dresser,” I say.
He happily obliges and we head to the back of the house to my bedroom.
What the eff am I doing? Trusting folks. As you can see, I’m alive to recount the story, but who knows what could have happened with the stranger from Craigslist.
This is where that Honor Code gets me in trouble. Now, the rational me knows not to implicitly trust random people, but the enlightened me says, “It’s cool. Everyone has Honor. This person, whom I’ve never met, is not going to hurt me, steal from me, or cheat me.”
He does have a girlfriend and two children in the car, I find. The girlfriend is blind and seems very nice. The bed frame and bookshelf are going to my dear little brother Lance—another deserving person. The mirror is going to my wonderful friend Melissa. I’m trusting that everything will be loved. Know the Code. Live by the Code.
My sincere apologies for neglecting the blog. It is crazy the demands on your time when you’re unemployed. After being yelled at a few times from friends for not posting, I’ve re-dedicated myself to a daily post.
The photo that accompanies this post has a story. A long story. We’ll save that for another day. However, those are words that we could all take a moment to reflect.
You’ve missed a lot since we last spoke…
Some realizations…A parade…A rejection letter…An interview…A man…Some fascinating reading material (A link daily to something I find fascinating/intriguing/funny/insightful, etc.) … A night out on South Beach…A rant…Some tears…I’ll get to all of that over the next four days to catch you up.
I’ve also decided to use this space to list three things for which I am grateful. Let’s make the assumption that everyday I am grateful to wake up and take a breath.
Today’s three things…
- A really great conversation with my friend Matt. Why a random conversation with a guy named Matt? It is the mutual respect and “awe” that we have for one another that drives the friendship. (Please don’t mistake this for arrogance). We’ve known each other for a long time. To have our moments of authentic conversation is a real treat.
- That I have a wonderful angel in Madison (as I type from her living room sofa; You’ll read more about Madison soon, remind me to tell you about the Great Pumpkin). She makes the list today for letting me use her home as a refuge and I don’t even have to talk. She also made a delicious dinner.
- Ran into two of my former players—Taylor and Gray—and the smiles on their faces and the tight hugs that they gave me made me grateful for the gift of a warm and open heart that God has blessed me with. I’ve only know them since February, but to know that I made a positive impact and impression is a nice feeling.
So happy that the chaos at Virginia has been put to bed. Of course there will be some collateral damage, but we can rest easy tonight knowing that the HONORable thing was done and President Sullivan has been reinstated. Hoping the Governor does the right thing and does not reappoint Ms. Dragas as rector. Picking up the pieces, and moving on…Mr. Jefferson’s University must always remain one of the nation’s best.
Today’s Read: Death of the BCS?
Strategic Dynamism: Death of University
I feel like I’ve lost my best friend. I’m having some of the same feelings that I encountered after the loss of my father. This University of Virginia/President Sullivan/Board of Visitors debacle is eating away at me.
How does one of the nation’s most storied, most honored bastion of learning get this black eye?
Greed? What I like to call “folks in suits making decisions about something they know nothing about.” Arrogance? Ignorance?
I think you can justly roll all of the aforementioned into one and call it a cluster…
I only applied to one University. I was only going to ONE UNIVERSITY.
I had the No. 1 public university in the nation in my backyard. There was no discussion.
Thomas Jefferson was a brilliant mind and I wanted to model my education after his ideals. (we can discuss the slavery thing in another post)
My mother said that we couldn’t afford it since she was now a single parent. I reiterated that there was no discussion. I was going to Virginia. Make it happen. End of discussion. (in retrospect, perhaps those words were a bit harsh from an 18-year old to her mom—her only parent—you live, you learn).
I spent an amazing four years at Virginia. I grew up at Virginia in the shadows of the Rotunda. I found ‘me’ at Virginia. What was so brilliant about the place was its freedom, if you will. Not my personal freedom from parents, home, curfews, etc., but the freedom to learn. the freedom to soak up as much knowledge as your brain could hold at a time. The freedom to lead. If you’re unfamiliar, the University is run by the students, for the students.
I took an abnormal approach to university. After starting as a Chemistry major (thank you, Kay Scarpetta) I realized that I didn’t want to be confined to a lab, a cold autopsy room and law and medical school would also have to follow. I chose to embark on a Renaissance education. I took classes from across all disciplines (except Engineering (sorry Houston) and Nursing). Everything else, I had covered. I look at my transcript and it is a thing of beauty.
(Want to chat about Russian literature? Construction Management? Sociology of Media? Greek Art and its history? Converse in Latin? Use some probability to win in Vegas? Regression analysis? Zen? )
I had the opportunity to share my experience with then-Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences Ed Ayers, as he was a proponent of a hybrid-liberal arts education. It was a great conversation of mutual fascination in a dimly lit room at the House of Blues in Chicago.
Distinguished Liberal Arts education. Thomas Jefferson. University. An environment of trust. Thoughtful debate. “Corporate-style, top-down leadership does not work in a great university. Sustained change with buy-in does work. UVA is one of the world’s greatest universities.”
UVA is one of the world’s greatest universities. It was until 11 days ago. If the BOV (read Dragas) has her way, the University will cease to be one of the greatest in the world.
In the 19th century, robber barons started their own private universities when they were not satisfied with those already available. But Leland Stanford never assumed his university should be run like his railroad empire. Andrew Carnegie did not design his institute in Pittsburgh to resemble his steel company. The University of Chicago, John D. Rockefeller’s dream come true, assumed neither his stern Baptist values nor his monopolistic strategies. That’s because for all their faults, Stanford, Carnegie, and Rockefeller knew what they didn’t know.
University is not a corporation. It is a foundation for building great leaders, business men and women, nurses, educators, politicos, journalist, scientist, thinkers.
I’m off to read more of my Plato, Aristotle and finish up the “Screwtape Letters”…in Italian. All things I studied at the Universitiy of Virginia.
(Acutally I’m going to update my resume (this woman needs a job) and run some errands, but I have read the works of both Plato and Aristotle and the Screwtape Letters in Italian).