Tuesday, September 08, 2020

a long day

 * Friday, they tore up Wilson street outside of my building; it was hard to get out to go home after teaching. So this morning, I figured, oh, they'll be resurfacing, I don't want to risk getting trapped in the lot, I'll park up the hill in the "distant lot" and just walk in. (Never mind I had my big backpack full of stuff and the box of the lab supplies). I was congratulating myself for being forethinking until a colleague came in and told me they were tearing up Chuckwa, which is what the lot I had parked in that morning let out on. 

So I don't know. I guess they're randomly tearing up streets and we just have to hope we don't get trapped when the decide to resurface. There has been zero communication - normally, when Campus Police get word of ANY streets or traffic disruption, they e-mail us, so I assume the city has not communicated with them. I am displeased. Though usually cities have a tense relationship with the universities that they house so maybe I shouldn't be surprised that there may be a little passive-aggressive "oh gee we didn't tell you we have to close this street today so you can't get out of your parking lot? Too bad! Can you call someone to drive you home?"

* I did get my first set of exams graded. A tiny bit of evidence some people cut and pasted from the internet but their answers didn't work with the questions, so zero points, and I don't have the emotional bandwidth to try to pursue it further, though perhaps I do have to start using the lockdown browser - not that that does much; people would use their phones to hunt stuff up.

I think a couple people took the test ON a phone; lots of autocorrect fail and someone spelled "nuts" as "nutz" so I don't even know.

I hate teaching in a pandemic, that's for sure. I hate this like anything and if you came to me and said "this is how it will be for the next five years" I'd start drafting a polite resignation letter because I can't DO this, it's too awful, it's not teaching, I'm doing a bad job, I'm failing.

* I am going to have to remember to find the "mute all" function for my big class. Someone had a tv on, someone had static coming through, I kept yelling at people to mute and tried to fast scroll through the sidebar of people to see if I could see who the offending party was and mute them, but I could not. But someone told me there's a mute all that apparently doesn't mute the host....it's just, there are so darn many extra things to remember and little tricks to learn, and it's at a time when my energy and stamina for such things are at an all-time low, and it's just hard

* I did get a start on the next exam (biostats) and found that I can write the questions in Word and make the data tables in Excel and just copy and paste them, since they are all essay questions, and not deal with the cumbersome slow formatting in BlackBoard (doing multiple choice questions in there is THE ABSOLUTE WORST, it takes about three times as long as doing them in a normal test does. I wonder if that's intentional to drive people to using the canned "question banks" textbook publishers sell, though those questions are often dreadfully worded and confusing). So I might be able to get that done Thursday afternoon.

* Everyone else seems to be coping better than I do and I don't like that.

* One thing I have hated so much in all of this - and the whole road-resurfacing thing brought it to the surface for me today - I have to make decisions that are based on incomplete, wrong, or false information. In some cases it's more of an annoyance than anything (if I get trapped in by the resurfacing, maybe I have to walk the mile home and the mile back the next day, or maybe I have to order a pizza to be delivered while I wait in my building because I didn't bring a lunch - and walk down to where the pizza car can meet me). But in other cases, it's a matter of life and death, especially now, and I don't like feeling like I'm being lied to or given wrong information.  

* I don't know. I am just feeling very small today and very ineffectual and like I don't like my job any more and if I don't like my job and am no longer good at it (I'm not, I'm doing terribly), then what do I have? Why do I still exist? 

 I also kinda feel like no one cares. Intellectually I know that's not true but also lots of people have their own problems, some bigger than what I have, and no one really has any bandwidth TO care very much - the problem is, working with my students and trying to be kind, I run out of "care" and haven't any left for myself, and that's why I'm so worn. And I have literally no one here to build me back up.

* This poem was posted on Twitter, I think the person who posted it (@unfortunatalie) is the author, but it struck me hard:

"Nobody does DIY unless they think there's a future" which makes me wonder if that's why I'm doing so little in the way of larger knitting or sewing projects: I'm not convinced I'll still be here a year or more from now to use the quilt I pieced, or to wear the sweater I knit. Or, that I'll still be here, but I'll still be stuck in my house and I don't have the motivation to make sweaters and stuff if I'm going to be at home, I mean, the sweaters I already have are fine for that, I wear the same five things when I am at home and just cycle them through the wash. 

I mean, yeah, being exhausted from all the extra extras at work is part of it, but also, my hope for ever getting out of the pandemic is really shrinking - just as my world has shrunk.

(I am still SO LONELY. I want a conversation with someone that doesn't involve talking through a screen but that's not going to happen. I hate screens now and I'm wondering if after the pandemic is over - if it ever is, here I am allowing myself hope again - if I just move to an artist's colony or somewhere where people are a little more open and less closed (like here: if you're not part of a nuclear family, forget it, you're always an Outsider) and just abandon screens - not have a tv, leave the internet behind except maybe for a few things like shopping or online radio (because most terrestrial radio in most of the US sucks now). I want to be able to walk out my door in the morning and have neighbors I know who want to talk to me, not some changeable group of renters who are there for four months and then gone, and you might have a good one and then they move out and are replaced by someone rude or loud or whatever. Maybe that "good community" with neighborly neighbors doesn't actually exist, I don't know. My mom seems to have some pretty good neighbors.)

* Edited to add: I read something this evening on "learned helplessness" and burnout, and apparently both rats and dogs show this - you give them an impossible task, like a maze they can't solve, and eventually they just give up, even when the task isn't impossible, and I wonder if a lot of us are dealing with that - for me, now, getting everything done to my satisfaction and doing it gracefully is an impossible task, and it means I shut down for doing other things. The solution is apparently to do something you CAN master (knitting a sock was the example given) and perhaps I have to FORCE myself....though tonight the round of "grading, piano practice, workout, fix dinner, work on the exam" ate up so much time I was too tired to knit when I finally closed up on the exam. 

 But yeah, definitely: it feels like a lot of us are trying to do the impossible, and it's damaging us, and I don't know how to repair or even mitigate that damage. Maybe that's an after-pandemic thing? Maybe right now I just concentrate on staying alive and not catching the thing, and after this is over see if I can take a semester's leave and straighten my brain back out? I don't know.

* Another thing I want is someone else to do the cooking. I don't mean restaurant carry-out, which is usually too much and too salty and too fatty, but actual home-made cooked food and I realized today that if this pandemic stretches for many more years, I may never see my mom again OR get to eat her cooking and that makes me immeasurably sad. 

* I also worry that after this making new friends will be impossible because everyone's bubbles will have fossilized and they won't want any new friends, and those of us who are unbubbled will be just....left to drown. Like the spare giraffe waiting for the Ark. (That was in some book I read as a kid - some YA novel, the protagonist described himself that way, and it always stuck with me, because I feel that too, I feel it hard.) Not that, I tell myself many days, I'm that interesting of a person that someone would want me in their life....

1 comment:

purlewe said...

So while I am not bubbled with anyone else (well except of course Sue) We are not bubbled with anyone else. I don't see us getting to bubble with anyone bc everyone claims family first. I feel like my online knitting community has filled the void. Especially since we can't visit her family or mine. Hers bc her folks don't understand how to do quarantine. Mine bc they have kids that are doing in person school. (8 kids, at least 6 different schools with everyone having different teachers. And I just found out one sister is letting her kids do sports. yeah, no.) I know you are tired of screens. And I completely get that. But if you want to join any of my knitting groups online I would be happy to have you. One meets T & Th at 7-10pm EST and the other meets Sundays at 4pm EST.