Sunday, November 26, 2006

O'erweening Dread

Senor Fluff and I had a marvelous time in Canadia over the Thanksgiving break. Unlike our last trip to the North, we had marvelous weather, stayed at a schmancy hotel in a great area, walked a lot, ate good food, saw a movie, bought a sweater or two (me, of course, not Senor Fluff). As often happens to me on vacation, I had the physical/emotional experience of an interior space opening--I could breathe freely, I slept well, I remembered the kinds of things that were important to me and that I was thankful for. You know--all of those feelings and experiences that remind us of how good our lives are on a daily basis. Why, then, the title of this post?

Tomorrow, I have a meeting. One of the many things on the table at this meeting will be work that I've done with a subcommittee. For the record, I did not choose to be on this subcommittee. I was on it last year, and thus it was assumed that this year I'd not only be on it, but that I'd convene it. Thankfully, it's a committee of smart, positive, kindly souls who are easily able to work with each other and even get a bit excited about what kinds of things they can pull off. Right before I left for break, I was reminded by my chair that all the work performed by the subcommittee is subject to the will of the greater body. I was also told: "it's about time, I've been wondering what was going on with that." I can't help but think that this is a harbinger of the tone of this meeting. My best guess is that it will go like this regarding project 1: we can't believe it's taken you so long to come up with this; this isn't what we discussed; well, we suppose it's too late to change it, so it will have to go ahead; it will be inferior to what's been done before, but try not to have it suck; go do more work on it now--we'll sit back and wait for it to suck. Regarding project 2: why on EARTH would you have chosen to do that? (ridicule and group laughter); we never said that we'd do this anyway; last year it was too much work; it only benefitted some students--you left out this group; that group often chooses to be left out; it doesn't matter, they should be included; maybe we want a different project just for that group?; regardless, the whole thing is too much work; well, but since you've done it THAT way (ridicule and laughter)...
Here I go a bit dim. It could be that they'll nix it right there, or it could be that it will go forward in some bastardized form.

My guess is that the above is an almost verbatim transcript of the meeting tomorrow. Thre are few things I like better than being publicly spanked and ridiculed, unless it can be done simultaneously--THAT'S the apotheosis of my meeting attendance.

I know that it's important to hold on to that brief opening of the interior space. That, it seems to me, is the thing that should be kept from all of this other effluvia which is fleeting and temporary. But I can't. And the joy that I get from the other parts of my job (interacting with students, reading/watching great texts, talking with smart people, working to make curricula better, etc.) is pushed beneath the surface of this kind of treatment by my colleagues.

So I know I should buck up right now. But I can't. So I think I'll wallow.

I'll let y'all know how it goes.


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