Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fluorescent Thursday

Is there a gremlin in this apartment? When I returned home yesterday, I again found the locks needed only one turn to open, while, as faithful readers know, I was instructed by Florin Moldovan to give them two turns, and have faithfully obeyed. No new appliances yesterday, so who had been here?

Later, I was just leaving the bedroom when I saw the bathroom light go out. I paused. It came back on, and then flashed off and on again. Whew, just a dying fluorescent tube.

This morning I rose, dressed, and headed for the bus stop at 7:30, 40 minutes before my first class. I waited for the "Walk" light to turn green at our busy intersection, then crossed in the southbound direction, and stood waiting to cross eastbound. "Will the bus get me there on time?" I wondered. Thinking a taxi might be more prudent, I patted my pocket, and discovered no wallet. This time I suspected no gremlin, knowing that it was merely a sequel to the computer story, "The Return of the Absent-Minded Professor."

I reversed course, waited again to cross back to our side of the Piata, and then climbed back up to our top-floor apartment. Now starting to sweat, I took my wallet from yesterday's leather coat, and departed once again for the office. It was now 7:40. Taxi, or bus? I chose bus, knowing I could call Melinda to start the class if I were to be a few minutes late, and wanting to find out if I could make it to the Faculty of Economics on the east side of town by bus in 30 minutes. As I approached the bus stop, I saw two #25 busses depart in my direction. Those were my rides. But the public transportation here is excellent, and I knew another bus, #24, would also get me where I was going, albeit by a somewhat slower route. Along came #24, and I boarded, arriving at the FSEGA (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration) stop at 8:03. I walked calmly into class precisely on time, noting the faithful presence of Teodora, Alexandru and Andrei, three students who have attended classes punctually. The remainde straggled in over the next ten minutes or so.

The day's lecture/seminar session went well. Again, about half the registered students showed up, and participated actively.

I returned home in my usual post-teaching state of emotional exhaustion, stripped, donned fatigues (jeans and a t-shirt, because it was a warm day), removed the dying fluorescent tube, and went searching for a bec (bulb) and new starter. After striking out at the downtown mall called "Central," I showed the bulb to a road repair worker outside the mall building. He perceived immediately my need, and guided me, in Romanian, to a small and obscure hardware store just off the Piata Mihai Viteazul, kitty-corner from our building. Neat little find, that store. I had not noticed it before, but have a hunch I'll be needing to go back there before the next eight months are over.

So, tonight I will bathe in the light, whereas this morning I showered by flashlight. And I have no morning commitments, so a good night's sleep should follow my soothing bath.

This weekend I will be staying in Cluj, resting Klaus (as I have dubbed my BMW), and attending some sessions of an international Globalization, Integration and Economic (Something... Cooperation?) Conference at our Faculty.

Also this weekend, I hope to meet up with Kerry Glamsch, the playwright and Fulbright Scholar based in Craiova. Kerry will be in Cluj for an Experimental Theatre Festival to be held here for the coming week. I hope to find time to enjoy at least one of the experimental productions. (Kerry is keeping a wonderful blog of his Romanian Fulbright and Thespian adventures at

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