For that parking lot is THE place to park for students/faculty/staff whose departments and classrooms are in buildings 7 and 13. It is the best place to park if you want to be close to the classrooms in building 8-11. I am always disappointed when I arrive too late to get a parking spot there, and have to look a bit further away.
Orit, Eitan and I divided up and went into the different classrooms to say good morning to the students, to see how they are doing, to tell them that we are there for them if they want to come talk, to tell them that their feelings of fear and panic are absolutely normal in such a situation, that they should not be embarrased about any of these feelings and that they should talk about them and not worry about what others might think. For we are all feeling the same sadness and fear. None of us have answers about what we can do to make life on that campus normal.
While Eitan and I are speaking to the economics class, there is a "tzeve adom" alert - and we all go into the hallway, in front of the classroom. The lecturer comes over to me and says: "Things were going okay, but I think now I have to let them go home. It will be hard to continue on with the lesson..." As we stand in the corridor, there is a very large boom, and we learn that Sapir was hit again, this time near another gate. One of the cabinet members had come for a visit to Sapir and one of his bodyguards was slightly wounded. A number of students were in shock, ambulances came and most of the few students who had shown up for class decided to leave. The students in the film dept. came over with their cameras to film the event.
We walk over to the "michina", where they have academic preparation courses and find about 4 people there. We sit down with them and begin talking. We tell them - more or less - what we told the economics class, before the boom. Staff members come in; a few more students wander by and we welcome them in. Eventually there are about 10 of us, having a "class" on the psychological effects of the rockets on us. One of the 'old timers' who lives in a kibbutz near the school and works at the school says: "Your psychological help is fine, except that's not our problem. We are in an existential crisis. We need to be physically safe. Talking is useless. We are in real danger."
She is right, of course, but talking together and supporting one another is all we have. We form a small support group of students, staff, professors for about half an hour and then go out. And as we are leaving: "Tzeve adom, tzeve adom" - and we run into the small kitchenette and hear a very loud boom. One of the staff members, who lives in Sderot and works at Sapir, begins shaking and crying and nearly faints. I tell her over and over to breathe deeply, and I breathe with her. Another woman holds her in a tight hug and a third brings her a chair and she weeps, and I tell her to breathe. After the staff worker calms down, she agrees to go spend the weekend with her son who lives in a town 15 km away - away from the kassam rockets.
After saying goodbye to a few more people, and seeing how our secretary in charge of student affairs is doing, I decide to take my chances and go to my car - parked across from where Roni died yesterday. I look up at the skies and say: Please don't fall yet; let me make it out of here and get to Netivot, 7 minutes away. There I will be safe.
I drive out of the college and there are no tzeve adoms. I make it safely home, but breathe a lot easier once I get close to Netivot. I try not to think about my fear of returning to Sapir to teach on Monday and Tuesday.
The lesson plans are for post-modern thought in research in my Qualitative research class and Consciousness in my Intro to Psych course.
I know that the kassam rocket attacks are not my subjective perception of reality - but reality.
And I think we are all very conscious of the effect they are having on us.
I may need to rethink my class plans...