Wednesday, March 28, 2007

If I Don't Exist, Can I Still Be Boring?

So let's say you're an assistant professor at a college. You've been there a while, teaching, research, doing stuff. You're reasonably certain that the money that you find in your account every month (never enough) has something to do with some work thing that keeps you in the building way too long on a nearly daily basis. Then your colleagues put out a list of assistant professors in the department. According to this list, you, though you're reasonably assured that haven't dreamed up this affiliation with the department (though who can be sure?), don't exist. Somehow, your colleagues have just erased you. Don't you think that since you don't exist, you shouldn't have to show up for the rest of the semester? I mean if no one missed you on a public list of your colleagues, they'd hardly notice if you didn't show up to meetings, right?

Clearly, since I don't exist, I didn't have a terrible night last night leading the Cool Class (resistant students, not as productive and interesting as it could have been) nor am I filling in for people at the tutoring center for a staggering six hours total today.

Of course, the other way to look at not being on the list of GTAs in my department is that my colleagues already look at me as an assistant professor. But when I looked at the assistant professor list, I see that no one has bumped me up. (Or course, then I would have to find out what the deal was with my paycheck.) It's not that my colleagues are just getting the jump on fall; other GTAs from my cohort on the way out are on the list.

Last night, when I realized that I work in a department for which I don't exist, I called up WSF. Of course, the psychic link was working, and he was calling me at the same time. It turns out he's not coming back until the end of April. I don't know what to tell you. I'm just completely deflated. Crushed, really. He makes living (or whatever it is I do) in Grad City fun. All I've been doing since he's been gone is working. When I hang out with others, it's to work. Since he's been gone, there's no one (except dear sweet SO, who got an earful from me last night) for me to narrate my life to. Which must explain my total upsurge in hysterical blogging. And hysteria more broadly. I blame the existential earful (makes me think of some deep meaning to earwax) I gave my mother on WSF's absence. Also the fact that I've been processing things, like really scary but totally psychologically-obvious dreams, with my Fabulous Similarly-Neurotic Friend, going straight into her office and lying down on her couch as if she were my therapist. WSF would keep me in line. Which leads me to one inevitable conclusion and one despairing question. One, a roadtrip is in my future. (No, I'm not sure hunkajunk is up to it. Oy.) Two, what in hell am I going to do at Adventure U without him?

(Warning: boring but necessary narration of life coming up.)

So Monday, also known of the Day of Gah!s, I actually did get together with Hate-Filled Dissertating Friend (so sweet -- she brought in a printer and said nothing about the fact that though I weigh a thousand pounds while she is training for a half-marathon, I was the one who bought both a packet of nuts as well as a Twix Bar, because, of course, a Twix bar is the one candy most like food, which those of us who have found themselves roadtripping late at night know -- many a Twix Bar has passed as breakfast). We worked for an astonishing three plus hours. Amazing. I was dead tired, but still managed to pump out some free-writing drivel on Chapter 4, for which, my timelining warns, I need to have a draft in two weeks. (Roll eyes. I just can't stand it. I really want to die with PhD after my name, but come on. If I die now. . .sigh.)

Then there's the matter that I suck and cannot manage to 1. get anything done on time, and 2. manage to not fill every single slot of time so I feel totally overscheduled and hemmed in by my own damn life. If WSF were here, we'd have gone out drinking last night (with half-price appetizers after 10) and then gone to Blockbuster, where he'd have made me laugh so much that I almost peed my pants. Maybe that's what's missing. Laughing so hard I almost pee my pants.

So on the schedule today is tutoring, meeting with Incompleted Student with whom I've been alternated between being pretentious and despairing (must watch propensity to 1. dole out wisdom I don't have and couldn't follow if I had it, 2. tell him totally inappropriate things about me because I don't have WSF to confide in, and 3. tell him that the whole world is an absurdist paradise and to damn it all to hell anyway), weary tutoring, and more weary tutoring until it's too late to do anything including laundry.

I blame the fact that I am now the most boring and sleep-inducing blogger ever on the fact that WSF is gone. He would keep me on my toes. At least I'd be able to steal his best lines.