Flame on!

I knew the day had gotten bad when my roommate suggested to me that I might need too keyed up by the day's events.

---

I don't generally think of myself as having a temper. If anything, I'm probably too slow to anger most times, owing to a family full of folks prone to flying off the handle. I've got an extremely long fuse.

And yet, sometimes, when I'm really frustrated, I find myself with a vision of myself catching fire. There I am, a picture in my own head: engulfed in flames, trying to make it through the world. In these visions, I'm a water person convinced I'm fire: I don't want to lash out, I simply want to go through things: walls, structures, limits. When I'm less angered, I find ways around them. But not today.

Today, I wanted to catch fire.

Since that wasn't possible, I thought about all sorts of other rash actions. I spent a fair amount of time pacing my living room floor and debating the straw that would break my camel's back. Wisely, no doubt, I passed on most of those options. Instead, I took a long walk, down by the river and through town. Music up loud. It didn't do much to take the edge off, but it was something at least.

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There was a problem this summer, that resulted in classes being canceled that shouldn't have been. Ultimately, the University gave some funds to those profs whose courses were canceled in error. My class was canceled for this reason, though there were plenty of other snafus that happened along the way.

For whatever reason, though, there was no mysterious infusion of funds for me.

I'm not above saying I want my slice of the pie. And so part of the day was spent trying to get some explanation. The culmination of the day - the answer to the question - was, and I'll quote:
"[This solution] was only negotiated for undergraduate [courses] since I did not know about [graduate courses]. We will be developing a new procedure for next summer."
I felt well and truly dismissed.

Not surprisingly, that one line answer left me in more than a bit of a funk. Obviously a response is in order, unless I'm prepared to be dismissed by a negotiation I knew nothing about that obviously didn't have the full set of facts. And even though I've managed to avoid the truly angry e-mail I wanted to write, as far as I can tell there isn't a way to write a response that won't result in the administrative equivalent of "fighting words."

We'll see what a good night's sleep brings, but it seems like that's how it's going have to be: Curmudgeon on fire, going through things rather than working around them.

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3 Responses to “Flame on!”
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Dr. Crazy said...

Shouldn't this be a situation in which your chair should be the one fighting for you? Or one in which you could get other senior-type people going through back-channels to do the dirty work? I would definitely respond, but I'd want to have some henchmen (with tenure) doing the angry bit, while I did the "confused and disheartened" bit.

October 21, 2008 at 12:29 AM
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

That's been part of today's goal: finding someone with more say and less at stake to advocate for me. At present, I've got my Dean making the case, though the e-mails have all been non-committal.

In short order, though, the last of my patience will evaporate, and I'll use the word "discriminatory" and "union" in an e-mail someplace, and see what happens there.

October 21, 2008 at 4:57 PM
ash said...

This will no doubt come as a shock (not!), but I think you should get the union involved or, as you suggest, at least invoke the name of the union. This is f---ed up.

October 21, 2008 at 6:45 PM