Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Normal Day

I had my last full tutorial class of the term today. The tutorial started off a little rocky, but I think the students and I wound up in a good place. I say "I think" because I had them do a quick evaluation of me as the last thing today, and the forms are still sitting unread in my backpack. Until I get a "Rate-Your-Professor" entry, I guess this is the closest I'll get to finding out whether they liked me or not.
Seriously, I think the evaluation, even as impromptu a one as this, is a good idea. Even if I don't get any useful feedback, it's still interesting to see how the student's experience of the subject has differed from mine.

Jumping to a new topic: Biking home today, I saw a furry, four-legged creature with a tail running across the street, and my first thought was "My God, that's a big squirrel." It was a cat, an animal that, excepting the similarities described above, does not really look like a squirrel. The surprising thing for me, though, was that "squirrel" was where my mind immediately leaped. Three or four months ago, my first instinct would have been "cat." At some point since moving here, "squirrel" became my normal, go-to reference for a furry animal, and a cat running around free became relatively unnormal.
This lead me to think about "normal" in a more general context. I don't want to go overboard with this, but the experience drove home how much "normal" is a subjective, even transitional, experience, and made me wonder what other definitions of normal have changed for me without me even noticing. As my definitions change, does it mean my identity's changed as well? And what am I potentially leaving behind?

Points to ponder. Later Days.


Kate said...

The phrase "this is my new normal" is becoming part of the vernacular for the very reasons you describe here. "Normal" is coming to be understood as an impermanent state, if it every was accepted as permanent.

Person of Consequence said...

And if normal is something you only land on temporarily, then deviation from normal becomes what is actually normal. Words are fun!