I got to Saint Louis late and went to the motel. It was a funny sort of place with character–I guess you would call it–with a dark varnished wood that ran midway from the wall down to the floor. What’s that called? “Wainscoting?” I figured they were giving me a taste of old Saint Louis or maybe they had some deal with the place. But it this was no holiday inn. I got up and had breakfast in a room that also was made dark by this rustic wood wainscoting. I always forget how dark it is where it’s cold because they have these little windows to keep out the cold, and in California you have these huge energy inefficient windows to let light in.
Then I went and stood where I was supposed to stand under the sign right outside the motel. Dirty ice was still on the ground, maybe the remnants of snow, and my toes were a little chilly.
The day went as planned. I don’t remember anything about the President except in my job journeys I have noted that Chancellors and Presidents have these huge offices, with huge desks, and usually for some reason or other an American flag stands by one side of the desk and on the other side a state flag if it’s a state school.
The plant was a hoot. The buildings were brick and had ornate decorations featuring Saints and Martyrs. The school was Jesuit, and I don’t remember Jesuit nuns. Maybe an order of nuns had lived there too because the offices for the folks in the English Department had been formerly nuns’ quarters. These had brick walls and high ceilings, were long and narrow with one window sort of high up on the wall. I thought these were great rooms, and the folks, from what I saw, had fixed them up and made them their own mostly buy sticking bookshelves wherever possible.
So far though I had not seen a single person dressed up like a nun or a priest. But then at lunch one showed up dressed in that dark flowing robe thing. But at lunch he was pretty lively and with his black slicked back hair he could have been some Mafia guy hiding out in a monestary.
By the time the talk came around at 130 or 2 I was too dead tired to care that much. I was light headed from exhaustion because I don’t know if I had slept 20 minutes the night night, tossing and turning, over and over, and lying on the floor to try some deep breathing, and working myself more and more into a sweat about how I would be so tired I would screw up the interview if I didn’t manage to get some sleep.
So as usual under these circumstances, there I was practically a zombie and so far I had not screwed up any as far as I could tell. But then who knew? I was running on auto-pilot.