It's been a strange week. There was the usual chaos of a new school year starting up; getting an idea of what classes will be like, running around with add/drop forms, trying to figure out what I absolutely need to take this semester if I want to graduate in the Spring, petitioning for substitutions to that end. Basically the usual routine. Then early Tuesday morning I woke up to my alarm, turned it off and stood up. Jonathan, who had been awakened by my alarm looked over at me and said something to the effect of "Hey, I'm really sorry to tell you this right now, but Meaghan Jones died last night."
Still dazed, my first thought was something like, "which Meaghan," which sounds weird, but I know several, and there were actually two Meaghan Jones on campus, which is a bit odd for a school of less than 1,000 students. I only really knew one of them, not remarkably closely, but we had gone to DC a couple times on the same conferences, first CPAC and then GPG, and had talked about politics occasionally (we were both poli-comm majors). She knew a lot about DC. Just as I was recalling all this, I checked my phone and found a voicemail from my editor at 1:22AM informing me of the same thing and asking for logins to pages I had been managing so we could start covering it, which sounded kind of surreal to me. In fact, really everything that day seemed kind of surreal, and I had a hard time giving a [expletive of your choice] about add/drop forms, substitutions, the paper I was supposed to submit that morning, or plans in general.
There was a big memorial service that night––which is not to say that the service itself was big––just the amount of people that attended. It was definitely the most emotional gathering I've seen since I've been here and it brought a lot of people in the community together that normally wouldn't have been.
So it has been a very strange feeling week since then. Despite the strangeness, and all of my suddenly strengthened inability to care about add/drop forms, papers, and such ilk, the registrar's deadline for me having my semester in order is still Friday, and my professors will still fail me if I don't turn in my papers. So on it goes.
This evening I went to the Norquist's house for dinner, and to meet the other members of a group that will be going to Chicago in a few weeks for a conference. It was a good time, and I think it will be a fun trip.
On the way back my car started smoking. Greatly disturbed, I pulled over in downtown Dayton and started frantically inspecting it. It's a 2000 Audi A6 with 216,000 miles on it, so I wasn't entirely surprised that something went wrong. The fact that it appeared to be on fire was a bit disconcerting though. The smoke fortunately seemed contained to one of the wheel-wells, and after explaining the symptoms to my Dad on the phone, decided it was probably just the brake caliper, and decided to attempt the trip back to campus, I made it, and parked safely away from any other cars or buildings, in case the unthinkable happened and the entire thing burned up––it happened to a friend of mine once. It continued to smolder for a half hour or so, but last time I checked it had stopped. My Dad told me a test I can do tomorrow after it cools down to see if the brakes are locked, but it appears that the A6 lives to die another day. So on it goes.