Monday, May 15, 2006

Where's the Academic Roomba?

Urgh, I say unto thee. Yes, one can read papers and exams, work the fingers to the bone calculating grades, enter them into the devil system, and STILL not be done.

How?! How is it possible?! I keep checking things off my list:

write and send to career center letters of recommendation. check.
write and turn in end-of-year report. check.
gather and copy documents for tenure file. almost-check (have to get to photocopy machine...)

Despite the checks and half-checks, however, things keep coming. Ooh, right, finish setting up those internships. And the website needs updating. And the pilot project needs assessing. And there's a welcome session for a one-year visitor. And lurking out there, somewhere, are the meetings about said pilot project, possible new minor, online initiative. And God knows what else.

This is the kind of piddling-out list that makes me long for expanses of time to work on my poor old article-draft. And that's not something I can say every day (not with much enthusiasm, anyway). I love the fact that administrative work and projects push me to remember how I used to have scholarly ambition. Piffle.

It is on days like these, of the summer measured out, not in coffee spoons, but in sad little interruptions of the gorgeous, indolent expanse of summer (like, perhaps, rotten cucumber sandwiches? terrible service? what's a good metaphor here?) that I dream of the academic equivalent of a Roomba:

You know. A happy little machine designed to run without your lifting a finger, scooting around the room sucking up grime and cat hair, and then returning to it's dock to recharge and do the same thing a few days later, leaving you free to do laundry, or garden, or go see a matinee. Can you imagine? What would one of these look like cleaning up extra academic activities?

It should definitely be red...

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