n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

weird days

Because the last time I went, I had an edifying time attending the all-college meeting at the community college I teach at, I thought I'd wiggle my way through another one, even if I've been thinking "I'm out!" with greater and greater intensity. And mostly, the meeting was boring, although I did enjoy seeing who the trustees are, and even more enjoyed squirming in sympathetic embarrassment that someone decided to introduce the trustees in a one-hour "comedy show" modeled after the Tonight Show, much to the apparent discomfort of the school president.

But what I thought was interesting, and an odd conversation, was afterwards, when I got waylaid by a department colleague whom I don't know very well, although I've always thought she seems super-friendly and interested in making friends with me (we just don't seem to bump shoulders, schedule-wise very much). That is, I've always meant to hang out with her sometime, but the opportunity has never really happened. Anyhow, the colleague rather pounced on me, asked me a bit about my writing, whether she could see some, but then segued into a conversation about why the hell I wasn't teaching creative writing. Of course, I said, "Good Question..." and stuttered around a conversation about seniority and all that jazz. But the conversation turned a little weirder... she asked me why it seemed like my MFA wasn't appreciated or utilized, and on a kind of lighter side, why the department didn't "throw me a party" and "feel proud" of me when I came back from Chicago with an MFA from a prestigious art school...

She was being very flattering, which I've never dealt well with, but also bringing up questions that I'm a little sensitive about as well.

Hmmm. Perhaps what was bizarre was being asked these questions personally. I'm not really sure why the community college has been considerably less than thrilled to have me back with extra experience for them to hypothetically draw upon. I felt pretty awkward and blushing in response and stumbled my way through the conversation, in part by lending the woman a book that I've always wanted to teach but haven't had the chance because it doesn't fit in with first-year comp.

Thinking about it though... I don't believe I have too much of a sense of entitlement (or at least I try not to), and when people have said to me in the past that so-n-so, or such-n-such school "owes me" a place, I've only just managed to bite back a laugh. I do believe everybody has to hustle and is in part responsible for making their own pathways through a competitive world. But the colleague seemed really concerned and either was confused or was playing at being confused (I'm not sure which... she's definitely a nice person, but I'm always suspicious of beautiful blond women in positions that indicate they're quite smart, and yet who act 'confused' about this or that... not that they're manipulating or bending information, but perhaps they're using their dissembling skills as a tool. Sometimes I get this impression coupled with a sense that I'm in the presence of a kung-fu monkey guru who lures knowledge by feigning innocence, and sometimes it feels like I'm in the presence of someone who always gets what they want by trading on their ability to appear ditzy; that is, I think it can slide either way in the scales of Good, and in this instance I don't think she was being sly, but rather chatty), and she got me thinking.

Like why, in the year that I've been back at the community college, has nobody asked me what I learned or studied when at SAIC? Most of my colleagues know that's where I was, but nobody's shown any interest in the skills I might've acquired. I've been asked if I've published (like before), but it's almost like nobody can believe I've picked up new knowledge in the past four years! It truly is bizarre, isn't it?

Mental note: when I meet someone who I haven't seen in a few years, I gonna start asking what they've learned. It might make for some interesting conversations actually. And other mental note: there might be several reasons beyond my own failure for why I'm so bloody unhappy at this job.
of course, there is the fact that I haven't asked what my friends at the cc have been doing for the past few years, either...
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