When I wander around a university campus, I am reminded of how great it is to work in an academic environment. Despite the occasional monstrosity of a building (typically the architecture department, for some strange reason), the buildings are beautiful and there are car-free zones that are excellent for strolling.
On a nice day, people are out and about doing classic campus activities. I assume they are doing these by choice and are not paid by the university to ensure that there is always someone playing frisbee on a lawn somewhere or sitting reading under a tree.
I like the crazy people who shout about Satan or sea mammals (though I am not so fond of the people with the pictures of fetuses), and the musicians on the sidewalks, even if most of them seem to be tortured by deep and sad emotions, or at least profound weariness at singing bad songs from my generation's high school and college days.
Regular readers already know how I feel about the squirrels.
BUT, and there is a BUT: I hate the marching band. I am sorry, but I really do. I do not hate the individual musicians as people of course, and I am glad that there are students who want to spend their extracurricular time playing the tuba rather than violent video games that degrade women and/or extraterrestrials, but why do they need to practice where anyone can hear them?
Perhaps those who choose to attend sporting events enjoy the sights and sounds of the marching band performing on game day, but would anyone choose to work in an office in the vicinity of a practicing marching band? My office is not near the athletic facilities. What evil person decided "Hey, let's have the tuba, drum, and trombone players practice over there between those academic buildings. It is nice and quiet there."?
This week was particularly trying because the tubas were practicing some songs that should never be attempted by a marching band. I wonder if the university would buy me some excellent noise-canceling headphones and/or pay for therapy so that I can work through my hostility issues related to marching bands.
I doubt if I could get these expenses past the accountants, who have now decided that we have to justify every single expense we make or even think about making, including those that are already described in gory detail in the budget justification of the grant. I have been attempting to get away with increasingly absurd secondary justifications*, with only partial success. Perhaps the accountants have been driven mad by the many hours that people in our building must listen to tubas practicing songs from "The Sound of Music".
* secondary justification = a justification of something that has already been sufficiently justified
10 years ago