Thursday, May 28, 2015

T-minus 32 days.

I gave notice to my apt complex (I might need to stop by in a couple days and make sure they got it, but that defeats the purpose of slipping it into their doorframe. I just wanna disappear from here --- I don't want any goodbyes or sympathy, I just want to be left alone and ignore the problem and pretend it never happened!)

I have finally made a list (which included the entry to make a whole bunch of lists for organizing the various parts of my move) and I need to do at least one Unpleasant Thing on it each day. Today I avoided the "contact schools about adjuncting" in favor of dealing with the car place, which was still unpleasant and necessary. Ooh, and yesterday I took a nice long walk! The plan was to alternate walks with morning yoga sessions but I felt very sick and dehydrated this morning so I'm going to start that up more slowly.

It's funny; we have had the loveliest coolest weather, for The Hot Place, lately and it made me really sad to have to leave. There is a lot of very beautiful landscape here and lots of cool places to to look at. I did some nice hikes and really enjoyed the new people who showed up --- transplants from elsewhere like me. We had a lot in common and they were making exited plans about all sorts of things (will I never get my kayak now!?!?) that I also really want to join and for a bit I didn't want to move away. But then I realized that I have a handful of acquaintances here but no friends, I am trapped inside during the only months I had off, and there is nothing cultural or food related around here I want to have anything to do with. Sigh. So I guess it's best I move back home.

"Home," however, is a bit of a shitter. I found out why they say "you can't go home again" ---- they've raised the rent so damn high! There are only affordable places on Craigslist in the Bay Area if you count Tracy as part of the bay. Now, I know I define "Bay Area" much more widely than some of its denizens, but even for me that's not really the BA. What the hell do working class people do to live in the Area on low-wage salaries? I guess everybody doubles and triples up and rents a room or a sofa rather than an entire place. Gah!

Oh, and I have recently told my sister about all of this, which was a relief and yet still kind of horrible. I am still working up to figuring out how to tell my family. That hasn't even made it onto the List of Unpleasant Things. I should write that one on there. Ooh, and reserving a POD. I was thinking of possibly selling my bed and sofa so I could fit all my crap in a POD and store it (not my clothes or coffee stuff, of course, not the daily used items, but I could probably store my books/furniture without access to them for several months). The bed is very very old. The sofa, only a few years old. Both have been damaged by cats. Thoughts one way or another? Or thoughts of a good way to break getting fired to my family? I'm kind of leaning towards flinging it at them like this song does:

Hello, dad, I'm in jail ..!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Avoiding dealing with my life by watching Parks and Rec

That screenshot is a nice capsule of their

I'm in Season 5. I don't love the show but it grew on me. Mainly I am posting here because I am hoping that I will be inspired by or magically carry out the subplot of the "Leslie vs. April" episode where people who are listening to Tom Haverford's latest sales pitch constantly keep offering jobs to Ben. I can hope, but I fear that a world where people recognize and remember competence and good work skills and then offer up jobs is a fantasy. Besides, nobody will have seen me be competent at my teaching job if I go back to my parents' house. On the other hand, nobody will have seen me do the equivalent of implode on camera with the sweats and shakes and deer-in-the-headlights look.

Back to the picture, I think my teaching persona is probably less like Leslie Knope and more like April attempting an imitation of Knope. Except now that I've said that, I remember her imitations of her sister back in season 1 that were not really imitations at all. But if you wanted someone with a teaching style that was bubbly or maternal instead of dry and filled with mood swings and snail references, I would probably not be a good choice.

(I can't find any good shots of Ben's character from this episode because this actor is very good at a smarmy and awkward type of humor that actually pains me to watch, and all of the screenshots people have taken of this episode are awkward or awkward with finger-guns, and I can't deal. Here's a picture of him looking serious, because I think as I get older I keep getting more Serious. On a side note, this guy's physicality reminds me of not one, but two ex-boyfriends.)

Anyway, sometimes I have felt like the force of Order and regimented stuffiness trying to impose rules and consequences onto a classroom of anarchy --- both fun and lethal. (To someone who's had a lot of contact with Anarchy as a political philosophy, I had not realized how incredibly organized that movement actually is at root. Regularly drinking until you black out, being completely incapable of handling basic life events, getting in and out of jail, pregnant, and finally being unable to complete the semester --- that is also anarchy, and I don't really deal well with that kind of life philosophy. I'd much rather try to get a group of black bloc members to come to consensus around --- uh, any topic at all.)

Basically, I am trying to understand myself better so that I can figure out what sort of job I should take --- much like Ben's decision to look for a job he can get excited about and that will use all his talents vs. one that is secure and pays well and is boring. I have decided that I have absolutely no sense of humor at all and want to see no evidence of it anywhere in the job, and ideally it would be a job that does not involve contact with people of any kind. But the work can't be boring, or meaningless. And I don't want to do the equivalent of selling Sweetums candy to diabetics, or greenwashing Sweetums through running their nonprofit foundation.

So. That should be easy, huh?

Monday, May 25, 2015


We have a varmint problem at the apartment complex, which the management has handled in a particularly stupid and frustrating way. Instead of posting a notice on all of our doors, or newsletter, or otherwise telling us what they were doing, they decided to simply take away access to the dumpsters and make it so we could only get in there one day a week, at certain times. There are bars on everything. Then, when people started dumping trash in the blue recycling bin, the manager came out and yelled at people and told them we didn't deserve recycling access because we were bad and too stupid to use it. Then she took recycling away completely. THEN she finally posted a notice out where the dumpsters used to be explaining the situation, and reiterated the "you don't deserve this" phrase. I was pretty pissed about this because, I AM smart enough to separate recycling, and also I'm pretty sure this is breaking state law. Also their method of dealing with the nuisance seems over-the-top in a way that is not helpful.

Still, this is not at all helpful for me while I am cleaning out my office and getting ready to move. I hate the thought of just throwing my recycling in the trash after I went to all the trouble of separating it, and the local for-cash center only does cans and glass. I have bags and bags of cardboard and plastic and cat food cans piling up and they are starting to make the place look dirty and stressful. There are even some bags in my trunk. But what do I do about it? I am half seriously thinking of doing a drive-by dumping into the neighboring retirement center, where they have the big blue roll cans sitting temptingly out by the wheelchair spot every day. Either that or I am going to call one of my former colleagues with the weirdest favor request ever.

How could they do this to me? Think of the Californians! Every time you recycle, a hipster gets his wings. And then they fly away. That's a win-win for the environment.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

End of the year

So. I'm done with finals, working on the final grading and grade tallying, starting to clean out my office and pack it all up ---- I don't have much left on that, actually ---- and soon I will be all done with this place. Huh. So what do I do?

I have 2 or 3 more places out on the vine still ... as in, I did interviews with them and now get to wait to see if they send me to the second level of interview/visit stuff. So I don't want to give up hope yet, but moving to that second cutoff point has not been my strong suit this year. Sigh.

I have to give notice on this place at the end of the month, and my lease is up in July. Where am I going? What am I doing? If I am moving my stuff into storage and moving back in with family to re-tool for a new career, what happens to my cats? It is all a big question mark.

Part of me is just saying, "fuckit," and not dealing with it. If my students can toke up every day and crash and burn on their classes and get fired from half a dozen different fast food establishments and not care about or worry about anything, why should I? It'll all happen somehow. If I can't land this I can, I dunno, barista or something while crashing at my sister's place. That doesn't help with the cats, but I'm sure something will work itself out.

All of this is to say that I should be Planning Out My Life right now, but instead I bought a computer game and am reading some trashy fiction and going camping next week. I have been in academia too long to not follow the summer break routine!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Crash and burn

I wrecked a rental car and a job interview.

I'm officially out of the running at that place now, so ... that happened.

I wanted that sentence to be all zeugma-like and stuff but my word choices don't quite work no matter how I tweak it.

I had a second, in my opinion, completely justified panic attack after marking up the edge of the car.  That will affect my insurance. Whatever. I made it through all the steps and obstacles and back home so I'm not going to think about that any more. If I get a job somewhere and my insurance goes higher I'll pay it, and if I don't get a job and starve to death I won't care if the insurance goes up. Small price to pay for merging.

Friday, May 8, 2015

I just got sympathied at, and I'm pissed.

I hate meeting with students.

You have to be on campus, and you have to have your door open. Then they don't show for the appointment and your boss does. It's hard to hide.

My dean wanted to know how my search was doing and if I had landed anything yet. Nope. Interviews but no second interviews. He said some kind, sympathetic things and asked if I was going to move back to where my family was or stick around --- STICK AROUND AND DO WHAT, MOTHERFUCKER?!?! YOU JUST DAMN FIRED ME! I HAVE NO JOB AND NOTHING TO KEEP ME HERE! ---- but since my first reaction to this kind of confrontation is to shut down and try not to cry, all I said was that I was planning on moving back to my family town and, I dunno, try and reinvent myself for a new career. Go see a job counselor or something.
I don't know that you have to completely change careers, says my boss. There are a lot of colleges over where your family lives and you can probably work out a schedule for putting work together at various schools, blah blah blah other sympathetic things here that I forget now.

Oh, says I, but that, that's really tough, and adjuncting doesn't really pay enough to live on; it's very insecure. I'd like to somehow have income security, and rents, you know, they're really high...

And then he says more sympathetic stuff about updating my letter and anything he can do to help and a few more suggestions about adjuncting and luckily he leaves and gives me a window to have a nice little cry and then recover so I don't look like I've been crying and then meet with all my students for their appointments.

But really?

I mean, now that I've had time to think about it, I am furious! Yes, I do the anger equivalent of "Oh yeah? Yeah!" and then come up with a snappy comeback days later all the time. This may be part of the struggle I have with students as I rarely show anger or blow up at them at the moment they are angering me, because it takes me a while to figure out that I am angry and then I obsessively replay the conversation in my head with angrier and angrier comments back to them and then the next time students push my boundaries, thinking I never get annoyed by anything, then boom!

Because really, did you just tell me I was good enough to be an adjunct but not to work for you full time? That I am a great teacher and really really good at what I do but I don't deserve to be paid a salary for it? That I shouldn't bother with a career change to something that will value me and pay me appropriately? DID YOU REALLY JUST TELL ME THAT?!?!?!

Inner Me is growing spikes out in all directions, extending fangs and mottling with all sorts of WARNING! DANGER WILL ROBINSON! colors. Inner Me is puffed up like a cobra, unhinging my jaw to swallow you whole after giving you a righteous beatdown with an enormous spiny tail. RRRRRRRR!

Unfortunately Outer Me just looks like a sad girl.