The Department of Architecture and Landscape Architecture moved over to the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (AHSS) this year. My department is also in AHSS and I was thrilled when they moved into the college. I have come to be a big fan of the architecture program through what I have learned from my son Cory, a 2nd year student in the program. I am completely enamored with the level of commitment and immersion that the architecture students enjoy.
Today, our college meeting was held in Renaissance Hall downtown – the architecture department’s home. I visited there before long ago, but have not been there since Cory has been in the program. I called Cory to tell him that I was going to be in his building today and to see if he would be there at that time. Really that is a silly question to ask an architecture student as architecture students darn near live in the design studio. I was excited when he confirmed he would be there at the time I was going there. I was doubly excited when he told me his lovely girlfriend Niloufar would be there as well. It was a golden opportunity to visit my two favorite architecture students in their natural habitat.
When we arrived at the building, I made a beeline for the design studio. Cory told me generally where his and Niloufar’s desks were. When I walked into the space – a huge room filled with students with their noses buried in their work and faculty drifting around to offer guidance – I immediately saw Niloufar and made my way to her desk. She was meeting with a faculty member who graciously introduced himself to me. I just stopped long enough to say hello and receive more concrete directions about where Cory was in the sea of people in the room. Once I had a visual on Cory I could see that he too was with a faculty member.
I must confess, I did not meander over to where Cory was situated – oh no, I strode. I strode with big, confident, purposeful steps. I strode right up to Cory’s desk extended my hand and introduced myself to the faculty member chatting with Cory. I really was thrilled to be there and to have the opportunity to see firsthand where all the creative genius takes place.
Alas, I don’t think Cory was as excited about me being there in the moment as I was. I could see a mixture of terror and murderous thoughts flash across his face as I introduced myself to his teacher. Out of the corner of my eye I could see his friends whose desks were adjacent to his fixated on the goings-on as if they were watching a car accident as it was happening. I just did my level best to make pleasant conversation and be an ambassador of joy and light. I kept it short and sweet…well, short and sweet by my standards. It was five minutes by my estimation, but may very well have seemed like hours to Cory. Then as quickly as I had arrived, I turned on my heel and made my way back out of the design studio and to my meeting on another floor.
I talked to Cory in the early evening about how much I enjoyed seeing the design studio and meeting his and Niloufar’s teachers. He told me I “caused a scene” at the design studio. I didn’t understand that comment. In my world, causing a scene requires making a spectacle of yourself in public. I clarified that I did not make a spectacle of myself. Cory clarified that “causing a scene” in his world means drawing a lot of attention to one’s self when entering a room or interacting with others. And then he told me that I always cause a scene – that is just my personality.
I have to tell you folks, his comments brought to mind the scene in Postcards from the Edge where the daughter (Meryl Streep) is complaining about how her mom (Shirley MacLaine) flashed her friends at her 17th birthday party. The mom responds that she didn’t flash the daughter’s friends, that her skirt just twirled up. If you have never seen this funny 30 second clip – see it here.
And here I thought I was just being delightful and engaging, but apparently there are days when kids don’t want their mother’s delightful and engaging personality to emerge and fill even the smallest corner of a large room. Not that I have any alternate personality for such situations. My days of being quiet and demure are so far gone that I don’t even think I could act the part for a whole minute without imploding. As my fellow spinach lover Popeye said (more or less), “I am what I am, and that’s all that I am.”
As you can tell, I am not really all that repentant for the scene I caused today. At least I wasn’t wearing a skirt that twirled up. Maybe next visit.
Day one thousand two hundred and twenty-nine of the new forty – obla di obla da