Train of Thought #90

I'm in a final and I'm sick to my stomach. I have had weird things to eat today and all of them a while ago so probably it's upset from the Advil that is swimming in there right now with a little swig of Diet Dr. Pepper.

I started this Dr. Pepper yesterday during my first 202 final. When I walked in one of my students asked if it was Dr. Pepper. I said yes and she said she can't drink Dr. Pepper. I asked why and she said, "Well, this might be too much information but it makes me poop a lot."

Who says you don't learn anything when you're on the teaching end of the college dynamic?

Which college dynamic I am none too sad about exiting. It might be partly spring fever, partly panic/denial, but I know it's mostly Authentic Contented Anticipation of not doing this any more. And those who know me best and how things have been for me here can judge whether they think that's sour grapes or not. I say it's not.

Of course I'm probably not the most objective person to ask. But even if it were sour grapes there's no disputing how miserable I've been here and how much my mindset and life have been transformed already this semester just with having that change on the horizon, not yet as a done deal.

Still, I am trying to temper the enthusiasm - partly so that I actually get some fricking jobhunt stuff done and partly because I'm sure there will be some hard times. The next job might not be great either (altho it would have to be pretty bad to do worse so I think it can't help but be somewhat better, even just by virtue of not entailing any homework), and I'm sure there will be days where I'm feeling bittersweet about this professional identity that I'm closing the door on, and of course since it's pretty much a given that I'm not going to be making as much money there will be hard times that are just hard b/c times are hard.

It's kind of weird that aside from age, I'm kind of in a time warp where someone has dumped me back in May 1993 when I quit the Ph.D. One thing that's cool about that concept is that that means all the time I spent teaching at Aub*rn (and, OK, here) has been bonus (considering that I was quite sure back then that I had pretty much put the nails in the coffin on any academic career [and was OK with that, mind you]) and now I'm no worse off than I was then. Another thing that's cool about it is that I have all those many years of proof that I can live pretty well without teaching.

I suppose one potentially un-cool thing about it is if anyone looks at this situation and considers the last 20 years as wasted time (b/c of being back in the same spot), but I don't choose to do that. At least where teaching at Aub*rn (and, OK, here) is concerned I actually feel like I kind of cheated something, for lack of a better word. I mean as I said I was pretty convinced I would never be able to teach at the college level with my Master's, and yet I found myself right back in there despite that, and of course scored 3 trips to Paris (albeit stressful busy trips but of course not regretted in the least and if nothing else they certainly were the highpoint of the Clems*n era - not exactly worth all the pain and stress and work that I've dealt with here, but at least they help offset those bits).

As long as I'm getting all philosophical I should also count all my Aub*rn and Clems*n friends, SC hiking and paddling forays, continued clay play, having the chance to Sing again with a capital "S" and possibly even Sam & Lucy among my Good Life Things that happened if not because of then at least in conjunction with this job I wasn't supposed ever to be able to do again after May '93. And of course the Really Cool students here and there, and probably many other things I'm neglecting to mention.

So HA! Not sure who that's aimed at, Life, Academia, what... but still HA!

Other cool thing especially with today's slightly panicked mindset job-wise is that I made it thru then (even more impressive, if I'm allowed to take credit for living thru such things: despite the first couple years' entailing a marriage, Mom's death, and a divorce). Consequently there is every possibility (is that guarded enough for you? today my outlook isn't letting me wax completely optimistic, alas, but still) that I will make it thru again.

I started to say something like "... without too much difficulty" but I decided not to jinx things.

Every. Possibility.

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