Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Invigiliating knitting, again

Last night, I found I had another circular needle of the correct size and length to do the cowl, so I started the second one (the gift-cowl) and I brought it along today because I have an exam to give, and can work on it while the students are taking the exam.

I also figured out a way to e-mail the enormous chapter files to myself so I worked on (part of) one last night. (And found a pretty confusing typo I will have to remember to mark. I HATE typos, especially in technical books)

I have other stuff to do - two exams to write for next week (I am going to start them TODAY. I worry about putting stuff like that off because you never know when something "urgent" comes up and then you are having to stay up til 3 am to write the danged things). And I'm slowly circling around some research data I need to get analyzed and start writing up - next year's Prairie Conference is IN MY PARENTS' TOWN and so I have to go to it, and ideally have something to present, because it's the rare conference where I won't be paying multiple hundreds of dollars out of my own pocket for lodging or overpriced "conference special" meals

(I have seen that. I have arrived at conferences a few days early, eaten in some of the local restaurants, and then gone back DURING the conference to find that the menu has been reduced to just a few items - called CONFERENCE SPECIAL MENU - and prices jacked up by anywhere from $3 to $5. Which I found rather offensive, seeing as conference people are often a captive audience, there more or less against their will (if you're in academia where any research component is expected, you have to go to conferences from time to time) and no, almost no one has an "expense account" any more, so most of us are paying for meals out of our own pockets. (I was, especially as a grad student). And I admit, it made me wonder: what were the restaurants in the towns where I arrived the day the conference started doing? I mean, I now know not to eat anywhere obnoxious enough to advertise a SPECIAL CONFERENCE MENU but I'm sure a lot of restaurants jack their prices up and don't hint at that information....Actually, not to go into a whole rant, but academic publishing and conferences are kind of a giant racket. Back in the days when people DID have expense accounts (but I bet folks at smaller universities NEVER did), it was a little different, but when you've got grad students going more or less on their own dime - or their advisor's dime - and trying to get their name out there so they can get a job....Oh, I suppose you could argue, "Pack a jar of peanut butter in your luggage and live on that for a week" and honestly, I know people who DID, but....Or you could argue "Go far away from the venue" but many people do not have cars at meetings - I almost never do, and also, sessions are often scheduled so that if you want to do morning AND afternoon sessions, you MIGHT have an hour for lunch....

I've also seen $8 box lunches, 15 years ago*, that contained a small sandwich, a hard apple, and a cookie. (Drinks were extra).

(*Well, almost:2001, the last time I went to a really big conference)

(Edited to fix year fail because 2001 =/= 1991. I was just BEGINNING grad school in '91. It was 1995 or thereabouts I saw the Special Conference Menu at places)

Also, going back to the Town Where My Grad School Is means I might get to see some of my profs from those days, and maybe a few of my former cohort who are still in Illinois will be there.

Sometimes it's good to see people again.....

I'm also circling around to mentioning one of the things that happens in the Internet age that probably didn't of my early friends (from my childhood) found me. Apparently through my (extremely minimal, I have an account but not a page) presence on FB.

I don't quite know how to respond. This is someone.....well, the later history with them was not entirely happy for me, without giving too much specific detail. And I don't want to be uncivil, and the person did kinda-sorta apologize for the way they treated me way back when (and anyway, all teenagers are stupid and do stupid things that are unkind).....and I do want to note that I've kind of moved past the incident and I've forgiven the person.....but I also admit I don't want to try to rekindle a friendship, too much has happened, too much time has passed. I don't want to push the person away but I also.....oh, I don't know. I'm going to think about it for a while, how to word the e-mail when I e-mail them back. (They e-mailed my campus address, that's why I think they may have found me through FB -t hat's the one I have linked to the account rather than my personal address)

It's weird. I mean, it would be weirder if it were a former boyfriend (I mean of the romantic or semi-romantic type) rather than a female friend-friend, but it's still awkward to me. And I can't think of ways to e-mail back that don't sound awkward so I think I better wait at least a few hours to try to come up with something that will be less awkward.

(Gah. It's so much easier on MLP....the whole "Amending Fences" episode.)

I think also my own fear/dislike of rejection is acting on me here. I DON'T want to reject her reaching out to me (one person I mentioned it to counseled me to "ignore the e-mail") because the person made the effort, you know? And I do think in this particular instance it would be rude to ignore it - this is not a random friend-request, this is a "Hey, I see you're still around and I found you, I just wanted to say hi" and that seems like something I want to respond to.

(And who knows? Maybe it could lead to some kind of friendship restarting, even though I'm not sure how likely that could be).

But I know how hard it would be for me to reach out to someone I hadn't heard from in years, and how it would hurt me if I never got a response I just have to figure out a response that isn't weird and awkward. Do I give part of my life story, how I wound up? Can I ask her what she's doing? I'm really curious what, if any, career she wound up at.

I guess I have to think about this more.

1 comment:

Lynn said...

Regarding the old friend email: Short and casual, like, "Hey, what a surprise to hear from you. What have you been up to all these years?" or something like that. That's what I would do anyway.