Friday, February 09, 2018

a cranktastic Friday

Yeah. I'm cranky. I KNOW I'm cranky. I know I am taking things personally that it is ridiculous for me to take personally (e.g.: the weather tomorrow is supposed to turn icy at some unpredictable point. So instead of taking tomorrow and going to Sherman and doing everything I want, I do an abbreviated run (Target, MAYBE the bookstore, the natural-foods market, maybe the Kroger's) this afternoon after class.

Intellectually, I know that the weather patterns or God or fate or whatever isn't conspiring to make my one free weekend for a while icky, but emotionally it's easy to feel that.

I'm also cranky because my card-exchange card never came. Three possibilities, from most to least generous-minded: (a) Lots of people have had the flu and other issues, the person sending my card maybe was sick or had family problems and will try to get on it soon and I just need to be patient. (b) The post office is eating cards again. Which I have no good solution for. or (c) My sender just couldn't be bothered, and I won't get a card this go round.

And yeah, I know, it's most likely a, and possibly b, and c is probably pretty unlikely (though if you ever read the "demon trolls" board on Ravelry - wow, it's a trip.. It's a place where people post alerts about businesses that don't follow through and it seems like the businesses that take people's money and never ship have v. similar patterns: the person protests an endless stream of personal problems, then accuses the people requesting refunds or product of being "mean" or even "libellous," and then the person starts blocking e-mails from people requesting refunds....and it wants me never to order stuff from a small business again. (That said: I have used Loopy Ewe, String Theory Colorworks (a small dyer who has both moved across country and had a child in recent years, but who has kept up with orders), and Simply Sock Yarn with great success. Granted, two of those three are actual physical SHOPS rather than dyers, but....)

But yeah. I REALLY hope the post office isn't "eating" cards again, seeing as my birthday is the end of this month. But the past few days, all I've gotten have been junk mail, a few bills, and a thing I ordered for myself....(And no, I do not expect at all to get any Valentine's cards.)

I'm also feeling cranky because I have to start planning (writing tests) for the science olympiad and to be honest, I hope it's not as much of a mess this year as it was last year, with everyone running around scrambling and stuff changed at the last minute and no options for food if you had anything like a restricted diet (This year I might carry a lunch....). (And also: it's going to be what is now being called "Super Saturday" - FOUR recruitment events: this, honor's day, some theater thing, some music thing. AND a basketball game and apparently an exhibition baseball game. So....if the weather's good, maybe I walk in, because there will be ZERO parking for volunteers. And no one in the administration is allowed to gripe that they can't get enough faculty to cover all four of those things: there are just about 140 of us, and I don't think the poorly-paid adjuncts should be made to do this kind of thing. For us salaried folks, giving up the occasional weekend is a part of the gig, but for someone making half what we do? Nope.)

And something I've noticed lately that bugs me. I was renewing my Southern Living subscription this morning and the little form said something on it like "you're one of our Very Special Friends." And the Clinique ad the Ulta sent me said something similar.

And I want to know: does anyone actually fall for that softsoap? Southern Living doesn't know me from Eve; all Clinique cares about is that enough people buy their makeup to make it profitable.

It does seem like in the modern world, "relationships" have become very debased: the whole Facebook "friend" thing, where you can have 1500 "friends" but not a one of them would help you move house if you had to (one of my measures of "who is a real friend" is "who will help you when you have to pack junk up and move, or who will offer a loan of their pickup so it's easier for you to haul stuff"). And the whole businesses-claiming-they-love-you thing (even though I admit I like it a little when Doki Doki crate says it). And all of the neediness (or what I perceive as such) on "surveys" where they REALLY want you to just rate everything as "excellent" rather than giving actual useful feedback, and they will hound you for more and more suggestions if you don't, until you just sigh and play the game and mark everything "excellent," or, if lying bugs you too much like it does me, you just ignore the survey and they keep hounding you abut THAT.

Then again, a "chaser," that makes me less-cranky, in a weird way - the realization that the grass probably really isn't greener, it's just a trick of the light: reading more in "Back from the Land" (are you sick of me talking about that book yet?), I'm up to the chapter where the author discusses "working out." No, not like what I do when I get up at 4:30 am and spend 40 minutes on a cross-country ski simulator in a place that's never seen more than 2" of snow. But "working out" in the sense of "earning money in a paid job where you have a boss"

Because, first up: a lot of the back-to-the-landers realized that living "off the grid" is expensive, at least to start up. And a lot of them ran through savings fast. (A few were trust-fund kids, but like many endeavors when you are in your 20s, you realize you need to hide that, or else people come to resent you*)

(*I wasn't exactly a trust-fund kid as a college student, but I had money put aside. Long story short: when my maternal grandmother died, my dad and his brothers sold the small Lake Michigan resort property she and my grandfather had owned. I guess land had gone up a good bit from when they bought it in the 1950s....and then my dad invested his third of the money, instead of buying a boat (as one brother did) or a vacation home.....and he pulled it out of the market right before that "black Friday" in fall I was well supplied, even for as expensive as Michigan was on an out-of-state tuition, and even with paying $650 a month (in 1980s dollars!) for a small apartment because (a) I didn't want a roommate and (b) the cheap apartments had terrible security and I didn't fancy waking up to find a stranger roaming around my living room. But anyway. I didn't talk about it much, and I was also pretty frugal otherwise (ate a lot of beans and rice), so....)

But anyway. A lot of the back-to-the-landers decided to take "blue collar" or "pink collar" (like waitressing) type jobs, on the grounds that they would be less soul-sucking (ha) than a "career type job" and also were less indicative of "selling out" and also perhaps they felt that they would have more camaraderie with the more working-class type people.

In a lot of cases: not so much. One person chronicled working at a seed company, where in the summer the work was backbreaking (essentially: hoeing out in the hot sun and pulling weeds) and in winter it was boring (sorting and packaging seeds - this was a place that did custom orders for folks - in a chilly barn). And the author herself waitressed and found (a) restaurant patrons can be super-rats, (b) the other waitresses resented her because they could tell she came from a more privileged background and they assumed she was 'slumming'**, and (c) it was exhausting work and you have to be agile and strong to do it well.

(**well, she kind of WAS)

And I confess: there have been Very Bad Days here (where I had moments of real miscommunication in class, then sat through faculty meetings where bad news was delivered to us, then had to scramble around to put together stuff for lab, then dragged home with a stack of grading in tow) when I thought, "Oh, how nice it would be to have a job that I could 'take off' at the end of the day like I take off my shoes when I come in the house."

But maybe not. Oh, I know I'd make a horrible waitress: I'm a little clumsy, for one thing, and would probably drop stuff. But I'd have a really hard time tolerating the jerks - the people who were rude, or the men who made inappropriate jokes, or the people who demanded lots of stuff and then either didn't tip or left an insultingly low tip, all of that. And I don't cope well with cat-herding type situations, and I suspect waiting tables is like that a lot of the time.

(Though I admit: I might be able to tolerate the seed-company job....)

But yeah. Every career or job has something about it that's kind of awful, and I guess you just have to decide what kind of "awful" you are willing to accept: long hours where sometimes your weekends get spoken for, or abysmally low pay, or having to work with what some people call GenPop who can be rude and demanding and just unpleasant.....and I guess I'll take the long hours, instead. (Even if I do occasionally get the student who approaches GenPop levels of unpleasantness. And yes, you can say "but you give them grades," except I really don't; I assign the grades they earn based on their work. And I've had a few real jerks who have earned As and I fill in the A on the gradesheet and just feel thankful that at least they'll never take THAT class with me again. Though often the really entitled-acting people earn low grades, and so it's like Groundhog Day: they show up again and sometimes again.)

But still. I do sometimes wish I had more downtime, that I didn't have to plan on working some Saturdays and evenings...

1 comment:

Lynn said...

I know what you mean about taking things personally, like it's going to be nice in the middle of the week and possibly cold and icky again this weekend and we NEED it to be nice on the weekends because we have stuff to do so I'm like, "Why?! Why are you doing this to us?" not to God or Mother Nature or the weather guy on TV but to the weather itself.