Trinity’s a pretty quiet place, suburbanly sylvan, quietly intent on sundry projects. Most days, it actually feels a little like my Midlothian neighborhood: people are happy to be tucked into their privacies, emerging now and then at ten minutes before the hour, blinking affably at one another in the September sunlight. But as my hometown street can bear witness, brief disruptions are possible even in placid places.
On summer mornings at my house, I talk to old women in Florida. That is to say, I make recordings for an inspirational radio station along the Upper Gulf Coast. I ask for money. I tell stories. I ask trivia questions. That sort of thing. Not very proud of the work, but if I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain, and so on and so forth. Doing radio production heightens my awareness for the audioscape of the houses around us. I’m intensely aware of people arguing and kids shouting and the loud muffler of our neighborhood cocaine dealer as he drives slowly, elegantly past our house, his sub-woofers woofing. But perhaps the most irritating audio events are the dogs. We used to have a next door pit bull who would bark every morning for ten minutes straight out of sheer anxiety to get back into the house. (She has since been replaced by a small, silent dog named Wendell, a French breed with huge ears and no interest in barking, thanks be.)
One day, I sat at my desk, my mic in place, my headphones on, waiting for the pit bull to stop barking so I could start talking to my nice old ladies, when a gigantic German shepherd bounded across the lawn of the renter across the street, just as she was mowing her lawn. So she grabbed a stick and started waving it at him. He being a creature of infinite jest, adapted instantly to the new shape the game was taking and began playing the role of Very Dangerous Animal, growling, slavering, super-woofing.
I pushed the mic back, threw off my phones, and sat back, just as another neighbor from down the street shouted to the renter that the dog (whose name, it turns out was, Rain) was really a nice dog when you put down your stick and stopped shouting. Rain, Rain, somehow went away, found his way back into his house, and our customarily weird suburban placidity reigned again. I leaned forward and scanned the street. A faint flicker of large-screen TVs through the curtains indicated that life went on.
So, as I was saying—disruptions are possible. I’m not sure where this is going. But given the rather pronounced canine presence in these reflections, and given my own habits as a pious Christian radio broadcaster, I might make devotional point about the Hound of Heaven, whom we flee down the nights and down the days under running laughter. But (agin in the vein of Christian radio fundraisers) although I’d gladly accept your donations for this not-for-profit Honors Program blog (and I’ll send you a tote bag and a coffee mug), I’m more inclined to invite you to think of indispensable disruptions to our life together on this campus. Here’re a few that come to mind for me:
* the flag at half mast for the past few days
* students sleeping in class
* headlines about Somalia
* professors who never speak in a straight line
* tours of the campus
* Netflix’s subscriber rate changes
* budget shortfalls
* Monday noon prayers in the Ozinga lobby
Love to hear what disruptions you’ve been encountering. Post a comment or two. Better yet, swing by my dorm room office on the second floor of Groot and become a needed and blessed disruption yourself. I’ll leave the mic on for you.