Sunday, January 23, 2011

French Connection

Just finished a long week with French colleagues in a good workshop. Two of our colleagues had traveled all the way from The Continent to work with us on technical details.  The details aren't important for this venue, but it was extremely important for me to maintain a continuous presence in the workshop. I had, however, just a few weeks earlier arranged to take a half day off on Thursdays to be part of the honors lab for organic chemistry.

Last Wednesday had come and gone with me taking the time to attend my philosophy class. Arriving that Wednesday evening was a snow storm. The impending "white death" had closed the local public schools on Thursday morning, and I went into the office as usual, expecting to work until 1200 before heading to the University. I decided to wait to head to lab until 1300, so that I could squeeze in some additional work with the French at lunch.

Just before I went to lunch I had checked with the University and classes were still on schedule, even though the snow as starting to be excessive and the accumulations were slowly choking off freeway traffic. I spent most of lunch checking my watch and watching the snow. I finished off my lunch and bade my farewells to my colleagues. As I put on my coat and grabbed my laptop, I checked with the traffic conditions and with the University. And what did I find? University was closing!

What luck! How fortuitous! Here I was, desperate to continue work, yet committed to be at lab and class. Torn between conflicting commitments. And now, 'miracle of miracles', one commitment was canceled due to weather leaving me free to continue my close work with the French. Did some deity throw a favor my way, and inconvenienced hundreds of thousands on my behalf? I doubt it. The Universe does not work that way.

This is the Midwest in January. Several snowstorms had already hit the region. When the French had arrived earlier in the week, it was clear that a snow storm was going to hit at some point later in the week. Coincidences do happen and I was just fortunate that the University officials decided to play it safe with road conditions Thursday afternoon.

In the end, our colleagues postponed their departure by one day and we managed to complete our work. Expectations met, conflicting commitments resolved. This French Connection fell into place because of planning and work.

1 comment: