Friday, August 17, 2007

I need a little Yin with my Yang...

Furballs! Furballs! burning bright
On the sofa of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

I took this picture this evening during one of the 75 episodes of Law & Order I watched. I feel desperately in need of a little of this symmetry - my life feels a bit out of whack. I'm in complete denial about classes starting in a matter of days. Of writing paper abstracts; applying for travel grants; of writing the "article which will never die like some evil zombie from hell"...

I received the copyedited version of my forthcoming article today and there are many many annoying little and not so little things that need to change before it goes to press. And I can't read the editor's handwriting. And it's due back by the end of the month.

However, after a really balanced meal of Triscuits and tunafish salad, I feel ready to do a little blogging. All in all, things are fine with the new job - I really like my colleagues and I'm going to a little shindig at the home of a colleague tomorrow night.

Yesterday's ostensible all-day orientation was disappointing and I ended up playing hooky after the first hour and a half (Unlike JB, who's gone to all of hers like a good new prof!). There were barely any humanities people there at all - only one other hire in my department was there. Mostly sciences, social sciences, and various permutations of medicine and health. I sat at a table with 45 new sociologists who didn't even respond when I said hello. And on my other side were 4 new education profs. who all asked me if I had children. No, I said, my husband and I aren't even living in the same country at the moment. Looks of sad pity all around. And then they ignored me as well. I am not social (apparently) nor am I a child to be educated. Fine then, I thought. I'll eat my muffin and duck out during the break.

They passed a microphone around and I had to say where I was from, what I do, and what my hobbies are. Everyone said gardening, hiking, camping, yoga, aerobics, blah, blah...even finishing dissertations! I had no hobby to share, I realized. At least not one I wanted to be labeled with: "Isn't that the girl who eats hamburgers in her spare time?"..."Oh, that's the new medievalist who watches TV when she should be writing..." So, I said that I was commuting to see my hubbie, so actually traveling was my hobby at the moment! (*Dead silence. Sound of a cricket chirping in the corner. Not even a conspiratorial chuckle. Am I the only one??*) - it was like I told them I had an inoperable brain tumor! I mean, hell, I'm DOING it and I'm not as broken up about it as all that! Lighten up, people...

So, I pocketed another muffin and left. I have already introduced myself to the library services, etc. and I didn't want to do exercises about making up syllabi. So, I went by my department and ended up spending a lovely afternoon putting about and being visited by various new colleagues, etc. A much better orientation, actually!

Once the semester is in full swing, I'll feel a little more balanced, I know. My little posse of appointment gnomes keep filling up my schedule with various meetings and deadlines and I need to get crackin'!


Soon student blogging will commence!


Hilaire said...

Oh, look how sweet the kitties are, lounging together like that!

That orientation sounds awful. Lighten up is right! Oh, I'm sad that new academics can be so skeert and humourless!

I'm with you - I've actually RSVP'd "no thanks" to the one oreintation where you just sit around and interminably hear about every single freaking administrative unit in the place. R's going to be here, I'm not wasting a day and half doing that. I am going to the spearate day-long "research orientation," so I can feel freaked out ;0, but that's it.

heu mihi said...

Well, in my tiny microscopic new school, absences would be very noticed, I imagine. So my presence was more out of a sense of compulsion than any actual dutifulness. Although I am pretty dutiful about such things, I confess.

Sorry that you had such a lame reception at the orientation, though. But at least your new department sounds great--and that's much more important!

Sisyphus said...

Cute Cute! Kitties!

Muffins and office puttering rather than new faculty orientation; sounds like you've got the right priorities. (do you have a department orientation or retreat in addition to this campus-wide one?)

Tiruncula said...

OMG Furballs!

On the retreat: one small thing I was grateful for last year was that my current institution is so big that new faculty events are all about the cocktail parties and are big enough that no one notices who isn't there (or who slips out early). I loathe group work and I especially loathe being made to do content-free group work, and I become very unpleasant to be around in those situations. Condolences to jb and I'm glad you were able to slip out, MW.

Also: so with you on the denial thing.

Belle said...

Maybe the silence re: traveling to see hubby was the terror that next year they'd have yet another face to add to their 'I should know that person...' You know, the idea that after a year of separation, you'll bag the whole mess and go be normal?

Dr. Virago said...


I think new faculty orientations are universally sucky. I slipped out of my syllabus-creating workshop, too. Seriously, are there people who don't know what a syllabus is??

Look for the new guy in Philosophy. He's cool and also in an LD relationship. More later by e-mail, where I can spill more beans.

medieval woman said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets a little clammy around orientations! The Human Resources one, of course, was totally informative because it was all about benefits, retirement, and health care! I'm going to a reception on the 28th with my chair and other new hires in my dept, so that will be enough for me!