Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What College Taught Me about Turning On Lights

While at Eastern Arizona College I worked for the Astronomy Teacher as his right hand minion. It was my life and I LOVED it. I was a full on astronomy nerd. 

Rather than have labs once a week in the day time and talk about the theoretics of what they would do if they could see the night sky right then, or even a short one a week night lab, we combined a semesters worth of lab time into two weekends. And It. Was. Awesome! Three nights on campus learning everything they could and then three nights out in the desert with telescopes learning hands on. I never missed a lab. Partly because it was my job, but largely because I loved them so much. 

One night after lab was over I got back to my off-campus housing, where I lived with 5 other was a nut house, but so fun! Since it was near 1 in the morning and the house was dark, it appeared everyone was asleep, I was as quiet as I possibly could be. I quietly unlocked the door and stepped in, and slowly slowly shut the door behind me. I didn't want to wake anyone up! Trying to keep my disturbance level low I didn't even turn on any lights. This was before we all had cell phones. I think one of us had one and we all thought she was the coolest and fanciest ever. So I couldn't even use my phone as a light. 

I had leftover dinner with me so I decided to creep to my bedroom by way of the kitchen rather than my normal route through the living room so I could label my food (because that ever works in a college house, baha!) and put it in the fridge. 

Suddenly I ran into something mid-calf high and I was falling. Trying to catch myself I took a step backwards while I turned and ran into something there too! I couldn't stop myself. I so gracefully fell backwards like a breaching whale. I think I may have even made a whale like "bwahhhhhh" as I fell. 

I can see it all slow motion in my head. 

I expected to hit the floor hard. But my fall was broken. 

By standing water! A foot of it! 

I quickly threw off my backpack and camera case to get my stuff out of the water, hoping I was tossing it to safety and not into more water.  

I can't tell you how confused I was. I'd just spent 8 hours teaching at labs, it was late, and my brain just couldn't figure out what was going on. What was I sitting in and why the heck did it have water in it?! I don't remember if I laughed or was grumbling at this point. But I'm pretty sure I wasn't too worried about being quiet any more. 

I turned on the lights. 

It was a swimming pool. A kiddie swimming pool with a little slide. Apparently some of the roommates decided to have an indoor spa, which was a really cool idea. And then being thoughtful they moved it over into the living room so that I wouldn't fall in on my trek through the living room when I got home. They just didn't anticipate the all consuming need to label my food. 

The lesson here? Just turn on the light for a second. You never know when it will save you from a burglar. Or a killer kiddie pool. 

(The next day it was used as a refill pot for an indoor water fight-because that's how college kids roll.)
About the "What College Taught Me" series:

In college I kept a small notebook with me constantly to write down things I learned. Not what I learned from my classes, but what I learned from the whole college experience. 

Looking through the pages you won't see notes about the meter in Shakespeare's sonnets, the chemical formula for silver plating, or the star names in Orion, even though those are all things I learned at college. 

Instead I wrote down life lessons. And man, did I have some good ones. Some were learned through good times. Some were learned through hard times. And some were learned through humor. 

That book has sat in my keepsake box for about 8 years now, and I realized it is well past time to pull it out and go back through the memories and the lessons. There are good lessons in there. Some only pertained to the college years, but some pertain to life. 

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