Day: November 10, 2020

Committee Baby

Sometimes I feel like I grownup. Usually when I achieve something on behalf of my kids or my students.

Other times, I feel like such an infant. This involves being in a position of some authority — chair of a committee, for example. I feel like I am a kid wearing Dad’s shoes. Like someone put me in charge my mistake, and everyone is internally rolling their eyes at my blatant incompetence. It doesn’t help that I find everything humorous and need to work very hard not to crack jokes. Or to crack only one out of every ten jokes I want to crack. The older I am, the goofier I am, and everything seems ridiculous and hilarious. (You should see my creative endeavors. 100% of my poetry turns out silly. Way too much of my fiction, especially the kind that was supposed to be terrifying or earnestly moving, ends up funny.) I can’t help it that people are being very serious about things that seem, to me, to be only molehills made into mountains. But maybe that’s because I am really an infant and don’t realize the gravity of the issues. Or maybe I do, and the gravity is nil, and we are all pretending to be more purposeful and important and engaged than we really are.

Or maybe significant administrative load changes a person. One colleague in an admin post seems positively hurt whenever I suggest we cancel a standing committee meeting because we have no pressing business. But there is always minor, trivial business! The meeting must not be cancelled! You’d think the f*cking pandemic would be a good time to not waste breath on stupid busy work. (Also, how come, regardless of my level of seniority, I am always the only one with young kids? And how come I still have young kids? The kind that goes to school all morning? Where are other people’s kids?)

Another faculty member, who has held several serious admin posts at the university level, basically said that, yes, this obscure document was available to all, in one of the (hundreds of frantic) emails sent by (various leadership or leadership-adjacent bodies of) the university. With a straight face (maybe he really is a master of deadpan the likes of whom the world has never seen) he basically implied that , of course, we have all read the attachment in that email. In reality, I have never in my life read any email sent by said body, let alone opened any attachments. As of a few years ago, I’ve been ignoring a vast majority of emails, because the stream is unbearable. Then the pandemic hit, and all the anxious emailers lost their damn minds and tripled their efforts.

Maybe I am just a baby, unappreciative of the important work done on the committees. Or maybe this goddamn meeting could’ve been an email.

How’s it serving, blogosphere?