Thursday, October 15, 2020

blessed are those

 who don't need other people.

I've seen some people boasting on social media about how "great" the distancing is, because now they aren't subjected to other people.

I, on the other hand, who thought she was an introvert - I'm miserable. Someone posted on Twitter (before it crashed, maybe forever?) that they missed "casual friendships" and that's very, very true. One of the reason I spent so much time on Twitter (and will be sad if it's not back soon) is that that's the closest thing I get right now to casual conversation. It's too much of a hurdle for me to call someone because I feel like I'll be interrupting them in the middle of something, and I"ll hear that disappointment in their voice, and I'll imagine they're thinking "Oh, it's YOU" and they'll be trying to get me off the phone. 

With Twitter, I can just post, and people can engage or not as they see fit and that works better for me because I have so many issues related to the "Ugh, who invited HER?" that I got from peers in childhood and adolescence.

I could have used a little bit of that this afternoon. I did the first of the terrible assessment stuff. I was hopeful when I started - hey, maybe I'll get it all done today! And I can write my exam for next week tomorrow, and then relax Saturday!


The person who did this before me - who got kicked upstairs - gave a very quick thumbnail last August of what I needed to do. Last August, as in, weeks after my dad died, when my brain was even more broken than it is now, and I barely remember what he told me. And also, he had things set up in a very idiosyncratic way - it recorded PERCENTAGE of wrong answers for questions rather than RAW NUMBERS and when my chair said "no, I want the raw numbers" I raged and told myself "well, maybe I'll just quit this job after this year" but went and re-ran them. 

I realized driving home I COULD have back-calculated the numbers from the percentages, but I have become slow and stupid in the past year and don't figure things out well. So I pushed through. About 5:30 I got the last of the stuff summarized for the one class, and figured I'd do the second one* tomorrow.

(*Which had its own comedy of errors: the key for machine grading the tests was missing. It finally turned up in the TA's office after several rounds of frantic e-mails and my threatening to make my own key if I could only get a copy of the test)

But yeah: no fun for me this weekend then; I have grading and an exam to write. And I feel very sad and tired and like I never get to have "fun," if I even remember what that is. (I might not).

I'm also sad because my mom has been trying to dissuade me from trying to drive up there for Christmas. I won't fly or take a train - too much chance of COVID exposure given how utterly terrible people are about masking up - so driving would be the only option. Except it's a roughly 16 hour drive, I'd have to do it over two days (a hotel stay might not be so cool during a pandemic) and she is right about "the weather might be really bad" and I've had limited experience recently driving in snow. 

 I see her point, and as I said, I'm unwilling to do mass-transit because if I got exposed and then exposed her, and she got sick - as unlikely as that might be - I wouldn't be able to live with myself.

Already, one of her good neighbors got exposed - at a family get-together and while my mom hasn't been close to Tootie recently, still, it's unsettling. (And Tootie is older, too - late 70s I think - I hope she doesn't get sick, I hope the exposure wasn't enough to make her sick - it was a hug at a family gathering with someone who later tested positive.

If there was a good, reliable, fast test, I'd consider taking the train and trying to distance from my mom (camping out in the garage if need be) for a few days until I could tested and be sure, but....that's not going to be a thing, good testing is NEVER going to be a thing, I think.

I'm just angry and huffy and I feel like no one cares about my happiness. And yes, I know: as an adult you have to take responsibility for your own happiness but some days that's hard for me, I'm so tired and I get so worn out helping OTHER people that I have no "help" left for me at the end of the day.

And teaching is still going badly. Everyone seems very checked out and I don't know if it's that I'm teaching badly, it's the pandemic, or a little from column A and a little from column B.

And twice this week I had unpleasant encounters - once, someone demanding I "help" them with something that there are people on campus whose WHOLE job it is to help with that thing, and I was doing three jobs at the moment they asked me. And I was not cordial about it, and I feel very bad about that still, but this is someone who is ALWAYS catered to.

And then, yesterday, I got an e-mail from another professor - someone I do not even KNOW - complaining about a student we have in common, saying that the student was being "unfair" to them after the student complained that they were not being treated fairly (were not given an asked-for extension because the student was caring for a family member recovering from COVID). And I sighed, and thought "This is not my fight, why are they trying to suck me into this" and I looked at my gradebook for the student (this being my all-online class) and guess what? They have done all the work in my class and are doing pretty well. They have never given a problem, never even asked me for an extension BUT the homework I do in that class have generous deadlines, and I give 48 hour windows in which to take the exams - because that is what we were explicitly ASKED to do. I contemplated sending one of two e-mails:

1. "I have had no problems with this student, I am not sure what the issue is" but figured that would either make it worse for the student (for whom I have no desire to make trouble) or get snapped at myself 

 or, more self-indulgently, some variation on:

2. "OMG it's a pandemic. I have no time and no energy, why are you burdening me with this" but I figured that would be even worse.

In the end, I followed the tradition of "Not my circus, not my monkeys" and didn't respond. I think it's the person's department chairperson's place to talk to them about it, not mine. But it still nettled me. 


I just....I hope there's fun and joy and peace and happiness at the end of this to make the slog worthwhile, but some days I wonder. Some days it feels like not only is there not a light at the end of the tunnel, but that the end of the tunnel has been bricked shut. 

I was going to get home at a "reasonable" hour (i.e. before 5:30 pm) today and take some time to knit but....yeah, you can't always get what you want. 

I had vaguely toyed with the idea of running to the bookstore (I know, risky, perhaps, but....going nowhere but out for groceries is slowly killing me) and shipping around, maybe even looking at their big stuffed animals. I had been looking at the big (nearly 40"!) shark (Blahaj) on the IKEA website after a mutual of mine tweeted about it. I kept saying "I don't need it" but I decided I kind of wanted one but....DENIED. IKEA won't ship here, apparently, and I could have it but it would mean driving to Frisco and probably walking through the cattle chute of the store, and that's not worth it. But I had thought: well, maybe you can buy yourself a little treat to make up for the horribleness of the assessment work. 

but now I can't. Because I have to write an exam for next week (which takes hours in BlackBoard) and do the grading I have. 

I did buy the Christmas gifts issue of Interweave, have done so every year for many many years, but I can't look at it - for two reasons:

1. I am realizing my Christmas this year is going to be alone and very strange and probably very sad

2. They photographed all the stuff lying on tables instead of on models because of COVID and one thing I always liked about Interweave was how they staged their knits. If they're just going to do "sad empty sweater lying on a table" from now on, maybe I don't bother to re-up with them.

A lot of this I know is that I'm just tired and have got too little free time this week (Last night was distanced-Board-meeting at church) but I am just feeling very fatigued over what life is now, and wishing things were different. I suppose the key to being happy in this is NOT to wish things were different, but I'm not quite there yet, I can't quite do the radical-acceptance thing that is the new pandemic mood. 

As for Christmas - except for a book for my niece I have no ideas of what to give people, and I cannot think of a single thing I want. Everything I would want is things that cannot be bought in a store. Maybe I just tell my mom I don't need any presents this year? and tell my brother I'll just send gifts to my niece, but maybe we give up on adult presents? Maybe this is the new normal? I used to love giving and receiving presents but everything's so messed up now, it seems kind of fruitless. And I know it would be hard for my mom to shop, especially. 


I suppose an option would be to look up fancy food gifts and send food to people. I don't need anything myself, but I would miss it if I couldn't send people gifts for Christmas. 

I don't know. Right now everything just feels gray. Maybe eventually things will be better but right now it's just grayness.

No comments: