Archive for May, 2009

Map Diary- 4.16.09

Thursday, April 16th, 2009 was a busy day. This came as no surprise- Thursday has proven to be my busiest day of the week this semester. My regular Thursday schedule consists of three classes, an hour-long voice lesson, and a standing TV/movie night with a group of friends in my dorm room. The lack of large chunks of free time in my schedule combined with the fact that I do not have a car in Williamsburg mean that on Thursdays I generally never leave campus. On most any other Thursday of this semester a map of my daily movements would be a very boring series of straight lines: Jamestown South dorm, class in James Blair, dorm, class in the College Apartments, dorm, class in Morton, voice lesson in Ewell, University Center for a mailbox check and some dinner, then back to my dorm for the balance of the evening to finish homework and enjoy the company of friends.

Thursday, April 16th, 2009 was not what I would consider to be a “normal” Thursday. Because our Williamsburg Documentary Project class no longer meets on Thursdays, an extra ninety minutes of free time was opened up from 11:00am-12:30pm. This provided an ideal window of opportunity to conduct an oral history interview. I took advantage of this free time and on April 16th at 10:30 am Jenna Simpson and I ventured out to the Virginia Cooperative Extension satellite office in Toano, Virginia to interview Mr. Vernon Heath, a retired extension agent. The office is located on Forge Road, literally yards away from the intersection of Forge and Richmond Roads.

It is appropriate that the most notable feature of my campus map and “freeform” map is my midday excursion to Toano. This trip may seem like an aberration in my normal Thursday schedule, but it is an excellent illustration of how the Williamsburg Documentary Project has changed my relationship to the greater Williamsburg community. For example, every Sunday for the last four years I have driven approximately eleven miles straight out Richmond Road from campus to Hickory Neck Episcopal Church in Toano, Virginia. I never appreciated the importance of the Toano community in the lives of the people who live/lived there until I began researching for the Williamsburg Documentary Project.

During our drive out Richmond Road I joked to Jenna that I should create an offshoot of the Williamsburg Documentary Project and call it the “Toano Documentary Project” simply because I have interviewed so many farmers who have roots in the Toano area. As we drove down Richmond Road I played tour guide and pointed out the farms, ancestral homes, and the places of work of the people I have interviewed for the Project.

Throughout the course of my research I have developed a very clear concept of Toano, Virginia as a “place” rather than a “location.” I believe that the idea of “place” is best defined as a geographic location that derives its character, meaning, and purpose from its position in time. Location is a concept that can be answered by the objective question “where is it?” but place is a concept that can be explained by the subjective question “what is/was this location like at a given point in time?”

The intersection of time and space was evident during our tour of the Richmond Road corridor. Using the definitions of location and place that I previously outlined, I acknowledge that many key places on my personal Richmond Road tour no longer exist. Many times I found myself pointing to an important geographic location for Jenna’s benefit, even though the feature that gave the location historical significance in my mind (like a farm, house, or store) was no longer there. As I have interacted with James City County natives I too have begun to absorb some of the local markers of place, even markers that have long since vanished from physical being. My present-day journey down Richmond Road now consists of a series of geographic locations superimposed with images of the past. For example, I used to drive past the Colonial Heritage subdivision without really thinking about why the subdivision is located on that piece of land. I now know that it is the former property of Jack and Virginia Massie who operated a family farm on the land. I will never again think of that property as the Colonial Heritage subdivision; I will now think of it as the old VaJack Farm that was developed into a subdivision. The research I have conducted for the Williamsburg Documentary Project has forever changed my relationship to the geographic locations along Richmond Road.

Considering the importance of my Toano excursion, I was not at all surprised at how my maps took shape. I confess that I am a creature of habit—once I find a routine that works I tend to stick with it. If I had begun this mapping exercise earlier in the semester and continued for an extended period of time I am sure that I would draw uncannily similar maps for each individual day of the week. I also confess that most of the time I feel that I have no compelling reason to leave the geographic confines of the William & Mary campus. I purposely left large spaces of blank paper on my freeform map to represent that I have little reason to venture beyond the boundaries of campus in the course of a normal day. I could easily have included major roads and details of the town in this map, but it would not be representative of my relatively insular, campus-based existence in Williamsburg.

My trip out to Toano is proof that the Williamsburg Documentary Project has shaken up my ideas of Williamsburg as a location and a place. The Project makes it a point of principle to take participants out of their geographic comfort zones and into the larger community. I am extremely glad this has happened because it has made me feel more invested in the community. I truly never expected to become so connected to an area that I have always considered to be a temporary place of residence. My only regret is that I was not able to do this sooner in my college career.

Map Diary

Tazewell Shepard    

04/21/09

Map-Diary Assignment

 

            Before this project, I had not put much thought into my daily movements. The notions of place as a literal and physical space, as an abstraction, and as a temporarily surrounding are all concepts I have discussed before in various academic classes. These are, however, not ideas I have concentrated on applying or examining within my own life; situations we discussed in school regarding place were always distant and impersonal and I had little at stake in my interpretation of events. Now, however, I am stuck believing that my movements, actions, and even the reactions found within this paper say something specific about me as a person. They say something about who I am and what I value. What that vague something actually is happens to be a little more uncertain and open for interpretation. After all, one day’s movements are not necessarily an adequate reflection on the sum of a person. To say the least, this experience has been more interesting than I expected. This assignment allows us as students to look critically at the implications of our own movements, but also leaves enough ambiguity to realize that these are just snapshots of our lives and by no means definitive statements. They are ephemeral images of us caught in passing moments.

            The actual things I spent my day doing reads much like a list. It is boring and makes me sound boring. I first left my dorm room at 12:30 to get lunch in the Sadler Center. I finished eating at 1:11 and did some work in the study room. At 1:42 I walked to class in Tucker. After my class finished, I walked to the library to print out a few forms for later that night. Then I walked back to my dorm at 4:05 to waste time before a Morocco study abroad meeting at 5:30 in the Williamsburg Public Library. I drove to the public library. On my way out, I stopped at Wawa to get dinner and then traveled on to my meeting. This event lasted until 6:34. I brought my backpack with me so I could drive on to Swem library after the meeting. I stayed in Swem for just under four hours and left at 10:25 to drive back to my dorm room. I stayed in my dorm for the rest of the day. I visited six buildings: my dorm, Wawa, two libraries, Tucker, and the Sadler Center. Thursday looked like a typical day.

            Reflecting on the journal, I am most surprised to notice how much time I spent in my dorm room between ending Wednesday night and starting Thursday morning: I exhausted the first half of Thursday just in my room. Realizing this made me feel lethargic. In fairness, Thursday began as an unusual day. I stayed up late on Wednesday and into the next morning working on a newspaper article. I would normally been out of the room before the very late sounding 12:30. Despite the excuses, I did not like seeing how much time I spent in my dorm room before leaving it. I doubt I would have noticed this issue if the assignment had not prompting me to pay attention to the details.

            Making my version of the map also proved an interesting activity because the directions concerning the map’s construction were quite open ended. We just had to include “any movements at or above the level of building-to-building” and movement times. This left the task of organizing the material into an interpretable document on the student. In contrast, filling out the pre-drawn William and Mary campus map was simple because there far fewer ways to represent this concept of place on a map with the locations already represented. I chose to draw only the places I traveled to on my map. Other locations around campus were left off for ease of reading. I also chose to depict each trip in a different color the routes would look clear and easily interpreted. Roads surrounding the buildings I traveled to drawn in to give paths for transportation and create some sense of perspective. My map shows how long it took for me to travel around campus and implies how long I spent in each location. My map does not, however, tell the viewer exactly where I was or what I did there. Such information could have been added but I could not think of a way to include it without cluttering the map.

            I am sure everyone in the class will produce very different looking maps to present to class because our work will reflect the diversity of perspectives found within the room. We are, after all, a group of acquaintances from different backgrounds drawn together to this class by a common set of interests in the course description. Going through the actual motions of journaling this project on Thursday was an interesting experience. I did not expect it to find it thought provoking and was surprised by these feelings as I recorded my movements. I had not expected to feel self-conscious about this project. I felt taken aback to actually care about what my movements said about my personality and my life. I am a pretty confident person, but suddenly felt like this assignment described me in ways that were outside of my control. This exercise tells us a lot about our day and our activities, but from a cursory view. I am glad I did it and look forward to seeing other people’s maps. The differences should be both illuminating and obscuring.

Mapping Reflections

In undertaking this project, I learned a lot about how I relate to the spaces immediately surrounding me. Williamsburg has always been a sort of nebulous region to me, often encompassing swaths of James City and York Counties in a broad sense, and also surprisingly confining in terms of legal boundaries.
By looking at my map, I quickly see that the majority of my day to day movements are confined to the College campus. I hardly think that this will be unique. Our classes, study venues, sources of entertainment, places to eat, and for many, homes are all located within the confines of the College campus. And even though I technically live off campus, my apartment on Scotland Street is so close to school that I can see Blow Hall from my door and I, unfortunately, share a wall with Wawa. I think that this really says something, though—that even a student who lives off-campus is forced to live so close to the school that he’s still within earshot of it. This fact, I believe, speaks to William and Mary’s status as a relatively rural, or at least suburban, school. If we were located in a city, students’ maps, I think, would be much more dispersed. Instead, with a lack of easy transportation, or even much reason to travel long distances, most student maps will look relatively centralized. I think that there’s a reason a campus map was surprisingly convenient, for the most part.
A note should also be made on the circuity of my map. It’s difficult to tell what directions I’m going in on the lines, simply because I travelled on them so frequently. This shows that most of my day depended on revolving around a central location, in this case my house, that when I was travelling in circles, I wasn’t necessarily going places to satisfy a simple, one-time necessity. Places I tend to go to more than once a day include my apartment, the Daily Grind, and Wawa. All of these locales serve as meeting places, hangouts, or convenient places where I can buy, stow, or take things from.
While the majority of my comings and goings took place off-campus, they still remained so close to campus that the map provided the perfect space to show them. My only real trip outside of campus, in fact, the only one I took all day that required a car, was to the home of Rodney Taylor. He lives far down the John Tyler Highway in James City County, near Jamestown. The drive took about fifteen minutes, and I knew that I was definitely outside the bounds of Williamsburg, but I soon realized that in my mind I was still in “Williamsburg.” I figured this out when I was going over the recording from the interview. I introduced Mr. Taylor with something like “This is Andrew Jungclaus. It’s Thursday, April 16, and I’m at the home of Rodney Taylor in Williamsburg, Virginia.” Mr. Taylor lived most of his life on Jamestown Island, and lives closer to it than to Williamsburg today. But still, he didn’t even correct me. I suppose this is because the concept of “Williamsburg” has become such a pervasive one that even locals feel comfortable lumping the surrounding counties under the name of a single, familiar space.
While digesting all of this, I’ve had a hard time reconciling such a broad “Williamsburg” with my previous conceptions of space. After growing up in a small suburb of Philadelphia, I couldn’t imagine how this type of experiment would have ended. Even though I left campus a few times on Thursday, it never occurred to me that I left “Williamsburg.” Now, if I had had a similar day in New Jersey, making movements of similar distances, I would have had to have travelled through several distinct townships, each with their own identities and cultures.
I don’t want to say that I consider all of the surrounding communities in James City and York Counties one with Williamsburg, that they completely dependent upon the “city” and don’t really exist outside of it. But I do think that with this rural county-city system that I haven’t seen anywhere but in Virginia, outlying counties to lend themselves to assumption by greater cities. One of our interview subjects, the Bradshaws, indignantly told me that they were residents of Norge, of James City County, and definitely not from Williamsburg. They took pride in their community and refused to see it lost in the commercialism of Williamsburg. But aside from them, it’s been my experience in Virginia that residents of counties are more than happy to associate themselves with the cities.
One rarely hears people say that they are from Albemarle, Fairfax, or James City Counties. Perhaps it’s convenience of recognition, or perhaps it’s a vestige of a more rural society. But in my own mapping and interviewing experience, I’ve found that there are fewer strict borders, fewer fiercely independent communities Virginia than in more densely populated states.

Week of April 27th

This will be another short and sweet blog entry in paragraph form because I do not want to take away time from writing my actual paper. I am well underway with the writing of my paper (8 pages) and the process has been eerily smooth thus far. I have an outline system that seems to be working well and my first draft of an introduction/thesis statement section actually seems to be holding the paper together in a coherent fashion. Loose administrative ends are being tied up as well. I spent some time earlier this week contacting my interviewees who have outstanding deeds of gift. The outstanding deeds of gift are trickling in and as of this morning there are only two I am still missing (Heath and Hula). I took care of three of the indexes on which Andrew and I collaborated. Tonight in addition to a few more pages I am going to get my headnotes and bio information written. I need to proofread the Marston transcript but it is essentially finished. I feel pretty good about where I am in the process right now, although it is going to be a busy couple of days.

Research Journal

I haven’t posted in three weeks. I realize that means that these are probably all 0’s, but I still think it’s important that I post them.

Monday 4/13
Received an email from Jake and responded.

Jake,

No news from JM Randalls at all. Ugh.

Yeah definitely I want in on The Spot. I’ll put the questions at the end of this email.

I’m a little peeved about the Corner Pocket. I’m not going to talk to them because they seem weird about smoking.

Thank you!

Maya Horowitz

Sorry, I know there’s a lot…

1. Do you or have you ever smoked?
2. Do you have respiratory problems?
3. Do you frequent restaurants in which smoking is permitted?
4. Do you prefer going to these types of restaurants?
5. How do you feel about people smoking around you/ you smoking around people?
6. Have you heard of Virginia Senate Bill 1105 and Virginia House Bill 1703, which disallow smoking in restaurants, except in separately-ventilated rooms starting December 1, 2009?
7. How do you feel about this new law?
8. How do you think it will affect you and Williamsburg as a whole?
8. Do you feel that the goverment should be allowed to dictate smoking policy?
9. Do you feel there is a difference between smoking around people who are eating and smoking around people who are eating?
10. How much of a problem do you think secondhand smoke is?
11. How do you feel about thirdhand smoke? If you have not heard of it, here is a quick definition: “‘Third-hand smoke is tobacco smoke contamination that remains after the cigarette has been extinguished,’” says Jonathan Winickoff, a pediatrician at the Dana–Farber/Harvard Cancer Center in Boston and author of a study on the new phenomenon published in the journal Pediatrics.” (taken from http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=what-is-third-hand-smoke)
12. Why do you think people smoke in restaurants?

—- Original message —-
>Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 15:02:13 -0400
>From: Jacob Charron
>Subject: JM Randall’s, The Spot
>To: Maya Horowitz
>
> Hey Maya,
>
> Any news from the people at JM Randall’s? Want me
> to call and try to schedule something with them?
>
> Also, I’m going to call The Spot today. Would you
> be interested in asking them any questions?
>
> Let me know,
>
> Jake

I’m feeling a little more optimistic. This will make three actual interviews and I already have a lot of print sources. Once I finish the Gormley transcript, I would like to start putting my paper together.

When I signed on to post my research journal, the site told me that “1 comments could not be processed by Defensio.” I’m not sure what this means. I waited an hour and it didn’t finish processing…

Tuesday 4/14 – Saturday 4/18
Went home to Fairfax, VA for mental health reasons. Did not do any work related to any of my classes.

Sunday 4/19
Completed small assignment 4.

Monday 4/20
Went through and edited the materials I have collected so far, to keep them in line with the WDP guidelines (e.g. using brackets instead of parentheses in editorial notes, etc.).

Tuesday 4/21
Lab meeting. Signed the Deed of Gift for the Gormley interview.

Wendesday 4/22
Conducted a participant observation with Tom Mahakian, Emily Wilson and Jonathan Oh. My notes are below:

Tom: avoids smoking area; if he has a choice; would wait up to10 minutes to get a non-smoking table then go somewhere else

Emily: not preferable but acceptable; sometimes smoking can positively affect the environment at restaurant; traditional Cape Cod new england fare all smoking big bar = more authentic; old-timey; non-smoking = modern trend of health-consciouness

Jon: doesn’t even notice if people are smoking; maybe the section is isolated? doesn’t go out to eat

Jon: father smokes a pack a week, used to smoke a lot

Tom: grandfather smokes a lot

Emily: grandfather & uncle died of lung cancer

Jon: secondhand smoke is a myth; so little effect

Emily: doesn’t care about secondhand smoke

Tom: avoids smoke if he can; preachy

Jon: mom used to tell him to tell dad to smoke

don’t believe in thirdhand smoke

Jon: disrespectful if someone gives you something that smells like smoke

Em: “as far as I’m concerned its [secondhand smoke] not that bad” hasn’t been made aware of studies; the law is unnecessary

Tom & Jon: don’t eat out a lot; just wants sections to be far apart

Em: classy high-end = no smoking; depends on the image you want; government has the right to make these laws but she hesitates to say that because she doesn’t think the ban shouldn’t’ve been passed.

Tom: change your clothes if you smell; it’s like farting

Jon & Em: why would you want to smoke while eating?

Em: smoking enhances taste?

Jon: do it when you’re waiting for food

Em: nicotene eases appetite

Tom & Em: smoke for image in front of people

All: not a big deal to walk through people smoking

Tom: going outside to smoke is respectful

Em: taboo to tell smokers to stop

Tom: can tell someone to stop smoking if you’re in close quarters

Jon: it’s stupid to say mean things to people who are smoking; this law is probably doing what most people want- i’m assuming the greater public probably appreciates this law more than us as representative of the greater population of Virginia; kids

Em: kids and old people

Thursday 4/23
Watched Penn and Teller’s “Bullshit!: Second-Hand Smoke.”

Friday 4/24
Reviewed class readings, especially Portelli – needed some guidance.

Saturday 4/25 & Sunday 4/26
Spent an unnecessary amount of time worrying about this project and getting little to nothing done.

Monday 4/27
Sent an email to Gerry Walton, the assistant of Jackson Tuttle.

Dear Mr. Walton,

I’m sorry that I have taken so long to respond. Looking at the time stamp on the message, it’s been more than a month.

I was wondering if I could set up a meeting with Mr. Tuttle concerning smoking laws in the city of Williamsburg. The only time I have available for this is Thursday 4/30 before 1 pm. I understand that that is a very specific time and he is a busy man.

So, as an alternative, would he be willing to have me send him a list of questions to which he could respond? I think this is a good alternative for a few reasons: (1) It will take less time than an actual interview and (2) He can word everything exactly as he would like it to be on the record.

Anything he says is his property, so I will send or deliver a deed of gift, which he must sign for his words to go on the record. At any point, he can rescind the deed of gift. He can also selectively choose to take out parts, e.g. questions 2 & 3.

Thank you for your time and help.

Sincerely,
Maya Horowitz

Tuesday 4/28
Final lab meeting. Wrote a thank you note to the Gormleys.

Received an email from Mr. Walton.

Maya,
Please send me an email with your questions for Mr. Tuttle, and let me know when you need his responses. We will do our best to accommodate you.

Gerry Walton
Executive Assistant
Williamsburg City Manager’s Office
401 Lafayette Street
Williamsburg, VA 23185
(757) 220-6101/Fax 220-6107

Wednesday 4/29
Sent an email to Mr. Walton.

Dear Mr. Walton,

Enclosed is the list of questions for Mr. Tuttle. It would be best if I could receive the answers before 5/5.

I am also enclosing a small explanation of the greater project my questions are a part of. I am also enclosing a copy of the deed of gift, which I will deliver to your office. As aforementioned, Mr. Tuttle’s signature on the deed of gift ensures that the information he provides can be archived.

Another reminder: he does not have to answer any question he is uncomfortable with. Furthermore, if he answers a question and then finds in the future that he would like his words taken off the record, they will be immediately removed.

Thank you for your time and patience.

Sincerely,
Maya Horowitz

List of questions included:
1. Can you tell me a little bit about your upbringing? Where you were born, notable places that you have lived?
2. Where did you attend college? Any higher education beyond that?
3. What was your family like? How many people lived in your childhood home? Any notable dynamics?
4. What is your family like now? Do you have children? Do you live near your relatives?
5. Do you (or anyone close to you) smoke?
6. Do you (or anyone close to you) have respiratory problems?
7. In your personal life, how do you feel about smoking?
8. Have you had any smoking experiences that have impacted your view on smoking?
9. How do you feel about your family’s (specifically your children’s and older members of your family’s) exposure to smoking?
10. How much of a problem do you think secondhand smoke is?
11. How do you feel about thirdhand smoke? If you have not heard of it, here is a quick definition: “‘Third-hand smoke is tobacco smoke contamination that remains after the cigarette has been extinguished,’” says Jonathan Winickoff, a pediatrician at the Dana–Farber/Harvard Cancer Center in Boston and author of a study on the new phenomenon published in the journal Pediatrics.” (taken from http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=what-is-third-hand-smoke)
12. In looking through the City Code of Williamsburg, I did not find any ordinances about smoking in restaurants (I looked through Article III). However, in he James City County Code there were a lot of laws concerning smoking and food. Does Williamsburg have laws about smoking? Do James City County laws supercede Williamsburg laws?
13. What is your opinion on Virginia Senate Bill 1105 and Virginia House Bill 1703, which disallow smoking in restaurants, except in separately-ventilated rooms starting December 1, 2009?
14. Do you feel that the government should dictate smoking policy?
15. How do you think the residents and tourists in Williamsburg will respond to the partial smoking ban?

Thursday 4/30
Began writing my final paper.

Friday 5/1
Sent my 1/3 of the Gormley transcript to Ash and Jake for compilation. Continued riting my paper.

Saturday 5/2
Wrote my autobiographical statement. Continued writing my paper.

Sunday 5/3
Received Jake’s 1/3 of the Gormley transcript; compiled it with my 1/3. Sent a reminder email to Mr. Walton. Continued writing my paper.

Sasinowski Mapping Reflections Essay

Mapping Exercise: April 16, 2009

Time Place Activity
12 am-8 am Ludwell 300B: Bedroom Reading in bed, then sleeping
8:00 -9:30 am Ludwell 300B: Living Room (my desk) & Kitchen Waking up, eating breakfast, reading MSN online
9:30-9:40 am Rolfe Rd, Jamestown Rd, Ukrops Dr., W& M Hall Lot Driving (me)
9:45-10:45 am W&M Rec Working out
10:50-11:00 am W&M Hall Lot, Ukrops Dr., Jamestown Rd, Rolfe Rd. Driving (me)
11:00-12:00 pm Ludwell 300B: Shower and bedroom Getting dressed
12:00-12:15 pm Rolfe Rd, Jamestown Rd. Walking
12:15-12:30 pm Campus Center Administrative Tasks: aka emailing
12:30-1:50 pm The Wren Building Class: Religion Class
1:50-2:00 pm Sunken Gardens to UC Walking
2:00-2:05 pm UC Waiting for friends to pick me up
2:05-2:10 pm Richmond Rd, Jamestown Rd, Route 199, John Tyler Highway Driving (Erin Soller)
2:10-3:40 pm Five Forks Café Eating and talking with Erin Soller, Catherine Wilkes, Lisa Batemen
3:40-3:45 pm John Tyler Highway, Route 199, Jamestown Rd., Rolfe Rd Driving (Erin Soller)
3:50-7:30 pm Ludwell 300B: Living Room (my desk) Working on Art History Paper
7:30-8:30 pm Ludwell 300B: Living Room (couch) and Kitchen Taking a break and eating dinner
8:30-10:00 pm Ludwell 300B: Living Room (my desk) Working on Art History Paper
10:00-10:30 pm Ludwell 300B: Living Room (couch) Talking with my roommate
10:30:11:45 pm Ludwell 300B: Living Room (my desk) Working on Art History Paper
11:45-12:00 am Ludwell 300B: Bathroom and Bedroom Getting ready for bed, reading, going to sleep

Reflective Essay

                This mapping experience provided an interesting experience for me to visually record a day at the end of my college experience. The assignment fit in really well with the overall experience of this class.  As I come to the end of my time at William and Mary, this class has forced me to look more closely at the environment in which I have spent my last four years.   I have visited more obscure locations in the Williamsburg area over the last few weeks than I have in during entire William and Mary career.  In fact, the day on which this assignment was conducted, I had already arranged to accomplish one of my research goals for my final WDP project: visiting the Five Forks Café for observational purposes.  I had never heard of this restaurant until last week; I was not sure where it was located and I certainly had never eaten there before.  In this way, the time table and map of my day on April 16th was fairly atypical for me.  While the types of activities I engaged in do reflect the sorts of things I do over the course of a normal day, the length of time and the location of those activities is fairly skewed.  A more in-depth analysis of the parts of my day on April 16th will illuminate these sorts of distinctions more clearly.

Going through my day chronologically, it seems appropriate to start at the very beginning.  However, a little background information may also be useful.  I live in the Ludwell Apartments off Rolfe Road with one other roommate, a fellow senior and member of Kappa Delta, in apartment 300B.  This apartment is located about a quarter of the way around the complex and on the first floor.  We have one bathroom, one living room area, and a kitchen.  When April 16, 2009 started, like most nights, I was in bed reading around midnight, falling asleep shortly after.  I woke up around 8 am to start the day of April 16th.  Also like most days, I had planned out most of my day the night before.  Roughly, I intended to go to the gym, go to class, get lunch, work on my art history paper.  The breakdown is slightly more detailed.

Since this class has been canceled on Thursdays, for the last few weeks I have gotten in the habit of going to the gym before my 12:30 class.  On this particular Thursday I did just that.  I am most protective of my time in the morning, however, so going to the gym in the morning means a little bit of planning.  I am insistent upon having at least an hour of morning to myself in which I make breakfast, drink coffee, and read the paper (or MSN online when I am here at school).  As you can imagine, this mean that no matter what I have to do in the morning, I have to tack an extra hour onto its start time.  Which means I usually work backward from whatever event I have scheduled in the morning: class 12:30 means being ready around 12:20 (if I’m going to drive) or 12:00 (if I’m going to walk), which means getting showered and dressed after the gym between 11 and noon, which means working out from 10 to 11, which means getting to the gym by 9:45, which means leaving Ludwell by 9:30 and ultimately means getting up around 8 to make sure I’ve got time for my quite morning.  So I got up at 8 am. Got coffee, read the paper, and was off to drive to the gym by 9:30ish.  This part of my day was pretty typical.

Going to the gym on a weekday for an hour is also fairly typical for me.  I teach Pilates at the Rec on Wednesdays and Fridays, but I try to go at least two other times on my own.   Going to class at 12:30 was also very typical for me; I’ve only missed my religion class once.  This was the first time that I walked to class from Ludwell, however.  I normally walk over from WDP class or drive and park in Williamsburg.  Lately, thanks to the good weather and beginning of tourist seasons, I’ve been having a hard time finding a parking spot in the Barnes and Noble parking lot (best kept, little known fact: they don’t ticket the Barnes and Noble lot).  So I walked.

After class on Thursdays, I have a weekly date with some of two of my girl friends.  Until the last two weeks, we have been meeting in Lodge One.  With my list of Southern restaurants to visit, however, I’ve suggested going to some of these local places.  When a few other friends found out about this project , they asked if they could join in on the tasting tour.  And so our group of five went to Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Q last week and decided on Five Forks Café for this week’s exhibition.  We met at the UC at 2 pm where Erin picked us up and we followed my Mapquest directions to Five Forks Café.   From the UC we drove down Richmond Road, toward s Colonial Williamsburg, and took Jamestown Road to Route 199 before finally making a left on John Tyler highway all the out past Farm Fresh.  We only had to turn around once before finding the restaurant.  A few hours and helpings of grits later, Erin drove us back to campus, dropping me of at Ludwell.  Eating lunch with my two girl friends was certainly not unusual for my Thursday afternoons, but going off campus in a group of five was a version of an ordinary event.

The remainder of my night was a little bit more atypical than the rest of my day, however.   I spent the rest of the night (from 3:45 onwards) in my apartment working on my Art History paper.  I do not usually work so long on one paper or for so long in one location without taking an extended break or switching studying spots.  I normally start losing focus and getting very antsy after sitting for hours in one place.  I started work at 3:45 with the intention that I would move to SWEM at 5 when I could drive and park my car in a Faculty/Staff spot without getting a ticket.  Five o’clock rolled around and I was in the middle of a research thought so I stayed a little longer in the apartment.  Six o’clock rolled around and I was starting to get hungry…I didn’t want to go to SWEM and come back to eat in the apartment when I got hungrier.  Then my roommate came home and I talked to her and ate dinner.  I went back to work on my paper.  Talked to my roommate some more, went back to work.  It was 11:45 and time for bed.  It was very atypical for me to stay there for so long.  I would not have worked so diligently in one place for so long if my roommate had been home the whole time or if I did not have the restriction on what time I could drive over to SWEM.

Overall, the first half of April 16th was normal for me but the second bit was pretty atypical given the length of time I spent in my apartment and the lack of group meetings or events that I usually attend in the evening.  The experience of recording this day was not too surprising for me.  I use Microsoft Outlook to plan my weeks and days fairly diligently.  I usually have a pretty good grip on how I spend my time and in what location.  The experience of visually recording this timeline on a map was interesting because I have never done it before.  At the same time, I am a very visual person and I often map out my day in my mind anyway. To this end, I did enjoy creating a drawing of my day.  I think having to write a reflective essay on how I spend my time was most valuable for me.  It has given me the chance to think about how I plan out my day and stick to that plan.  I realize that I sound pretty uptight with my time; I would prefer to think that I have a good sense of time management skills.  I have an innate ability to wake up literally the minute before my alarm.  It’s strange, but I like my time.


About

The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

Add Users

If you want to add yourself to this blog, please log in.