Friday, September 11, 2009

Life's Little Disappointments

There are many wonderful quotes about plans that don’t work out. My favorite is "The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley" by Robert Burns. (It was written in Scottish.) But I also like my mother’s bit of homespun wisdom: “Man plans; God laughs.” That about sums it up.

I’m waxing philosophical because, once again, due to forces way beyond my humble control, my class in Writing, Publishing, & Promoting Your Nonfiction Book” has been cancelled, just days before it was scheduled to begin. Apparently, the community college has spent the last couple of days informing eager teachers that too few students registered to make the classes worthwhile.

On one hand, that’s probably good news because it’s hard to adequately prepare for a class with no confirmation that it’s going to be held. Thus, I wasn’t as ready as I would have been under different circumstances.

On the other hand, it’s bad news because I have to tell the wonderful speakers I had booked that I don’t need them. My lineup was the best ever and I’m really disappointed.

I guess it’s both good and bad news because, when I counted up the number of remaining copies of my book, which I planned to give to every student, my stock was running dangerously low. So now, I am several hundred dollars poorer but fifty books richer because I had to order more from the printer.

I could continue to go back and forth with why it’s good news—I’m swamped and this will free up time for my projects, or bad news—teaching is the highlight of each season and I will truly miss it. But why give myself a headache over the vicissitudes of life?

This is merely further proof that everything in life is interconnected. Something happens somewhere (the economy tanks, for example), and many months later, the community college has to cancel classes. People who might have wanted to take those classes are disappointed; speakers who had probably begun to prepare are told to stop; class plans already in the works are shelved; teachers who had new things to say turn their attention to other things; and the community college, which is certainly in need of money, loses out on anticipated revenue.

But it is what it is, a saying I hear frequently and have really come to dislike. Somehow, it just lacks the poetry of "the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley.”

They just don’t write lines like that anymore.