Wednesday, September 29, 2004
I'm a Linking Machine!
I should be
- emailing recommenders asking them to update my letters.
- continuing work on application letters
- cleaning my office
- typing up a list of the things on reserve for my grad students
- finishing reading The Wasteland - [by the way, my favorite lines from this poem are the following:
"She turns and looks a moment in the glass,
Hardly aware of her departed lover;
Her brain allows one half-formed thought to pass:
'Well now that's done: and I'm glad it's over.'
When lovely woman stoops to folly and
Paces about her room again, alone,
She smoothes her hair with automatic hand,
And puts a record on the gramophone."
Ok, was interrupted by my student. They are so sweet before this first assignment - they're so worried about doing everything "right." As much as I hate the way they suck the life out of me, I really do love my freshmen.
But yeah, so I should be doing all of the above, but I am not. Instead, I'm reading things that are useless to me. However, in my reading, I did come across yet another irritating chronicle article. I tried to figure out why this was so irritating to me. Was it the sexism of the adviser?
"And what about children?" At this point, I was egging him on.
"Definitely not! As a female scientist with the potential to do real
research, you cannot have children. My wife stayed home with my children, but
you can't afford to do that. You need to focus all your energy on publishing
Was it the whimpering of the author at the end of the article?
Am I dreaming too big? Will my boyfriend and I manage to find permanent
positions in the same town? Or will the strain be too much for our relationship?
Should I have listened more closely to the words of wisdom that say, "Don't
talk to the media, don't teach, and definitely don't fall in love"?
And then I realized: the thing that irritated me was the fact that this is yet another person who will be posting about her experiences on the market who is dealing with the two-body problem. Now, I realize that many academics are dealing with the two-body problem, and I don't mean to be unsympathetic. As human beings, we want to be with the people whom we love. Of course. Yes. Who can argue with that? But here is the thing: there are people whom I love and near whom I do not get the luxury of living. And nobody gives a shit. Because when you're single, people act like you have no responsibilities, no emotional attachments, and no reason to complain. And so, your colleagues will think it's perfectly reasonable to schedule committee meetings late on Friday afternoon because "I can't come in on Tuesdays and Thursdays because Jimmy has soccer." Or they will say to you, with a smile, when you're looking frazzled after a week of doing conferences with 18-year-old illiterates (I exaggerate, but that's how one feels after the conference week), "Well, at least you don't have kids!"
Fuck this feeling sorry for people who are in relationships/have families. Yeah, I don't have kids. And I don't have a husband to run out to the store or to pay the bills or to take care of me when I'm sick. And I don't get presents for non-present-giving-holidays like Easter, and most of the time nobody tells me that they love me before I go to sleep (unless meows count - hee!), and I get absolutely no tax breaks for my relationship non-status. I could rant like this for hours, so I'll just leave the list of examples of things that suck about being single at that.
Of course there are good things about being single, too. But my point here is that if one is single and without children, she is supposed to somehow (if the Chronicle is any indication) not feel anxiety about the job market. Somehow, she is supposed to "have it easy" in comparison to those poor people who are in love and who have the support of someone who loves them throughout the process. And then this attitude accompanies the single girl into her first tenure-track job, where all of the faculty with kids/spouses/partners get first pick of when they schedule their classes and other "perks" which they characterize as necessities. Question: What do you think the response would be if I said that I couldn't make the committee meeting Friday afternoon because I had to... I don't know... shave my entire body in case a guy I'm fucking decides to get drunk with me and to fuck me senseless? Does that count in the same way that little Jimmy's soccer counts? Didn't think so. Hangovers, emergency trips to the gynecologist, being exhausted from counseling a heartbroken friend, needing to take a friend to go get an abortion, etc. also do not count.
To be fair, the Chronicle did do some sort of article a really long time ago about being a single professor, but I think their emphasis on the two-body problem the other 364 days of the year perhaps betrays a slight... bias. I'm sick of the two-body problem.
[If you are currently in the midst of two-body angst, please don't take offense at this rant]