Because clearly the correct thing to do before a Big Project debut is to go away and sit in silence for a week. So I did.
In fairness, I planned the week in silence before the opportunity for the Big Project arrived in my inbox. While it may seem to some that I am always running off to sit still (no names will be mentioned cough, cough finnandlucy cough, cough), in fact, I barely do more than the minimum expected from formal students in the MRO. In any case, the week had been put on the calendar and planned for all around, so I did it.
The morning before I left, I needed to deliver a critical piece of the bike/spinning wheel puzzle to Rommel (please, pronounced romMEL, not ROMmel - he is not a German general). When we first met and I explained the project to him in a way that was, no doubt, circuitous and slightly rushed and breathless, he just looked at me and calmly said, "Don't worry. I fix things. It's what I do."
He was so calm and so certain and steady, that I didn't worry. Rommel will make this happen. It's what he does. My own idea of how it would happen was quickly nixed due to the fact that I actually understand bicycle mechanics not at all. Cycling tenderfoot! My gratitude to Rommel and his ability to fix things was deep and sincere.
Rommel also very calmly told me that the date of my project (April 6th from 7 − 9 p.m, btw) was the due date for his first child. So happy! So calm! I offered my hearty congratulations and felt certain that Rommel would weather new fatherhood just as steady and grounded as anyone ever did. However, in my own rushed and breathless way, a wee bairn of a thought entered my head (a thought that Lucy later told me I was a selfish jerk for having, which is true but I did have it) that my project could be slightly derailed by the early arrival of said first baby. Yeah, I know. It was the height of self-centeredness to even draw any line between my piddling project and the arrival of anyone's first child, let alone the personification of gentle sweetness himself (Rommel).
As I was saying, three paragraphs before (see? I am a bit circuitous in my storytelling), Rommel and I made an appointment for me to deliver this critical piece of the bike/spinning wheel puzzle on Monday morning before I headed upstate for the Monastery. I was there at the appointed hour, but no Rommel. Up until this very moment, everything had been falling into place with this project and I had been pinching myself that it was going so well. And then, no Rommel.
I had a sneaking suspicion of what was going on. Babies, even first babies, have been known to arrive a little early. They care not for project deadlines and anyone who thinks that they might is a selfish jerk, like Lucy said. Actually, not a selfish jerk (Lucy was specifically referring to me, not making a blanket statement). People who think that babies will respect deadlines are simply deluded and quickly find a way of giving up making and keeping deadlines or they live a very frustrated life.
So, after making some last minute arrangements (thank you, Dan), the piece was delivered while I sat in silence upstate, the baby was born, the project continues in some way, shape or fashion, Rommel is a dad, I will be at the Brooklyn Museum on Saturday, and things are (as they always were) just as they should be.