Thursday, November 08, 2007

Itinerary Arrives

Today is the final day of Parental Visit of Fall, 2007. We had breakfast out and did a bit of shopping. We returned home so they could nap and I could work. I was tapping away at the keys, back to writing my book, and noticed a slew of emails had arrived.

I scowled at one from Anti-Friend that was a bit snippy and self-important. Carrie is growing annoyed as well so I’m rather eager to see how this all ends up. There were seminar announcements and the daily set of informational messages from Current Institution. Then there was an itinerary sent from Potential Institution. This is professional and delightful since it’s still over a month away and I have oodles of time to prepare.

Yet I freaked out. It’s two full days (one of which stretches from a morning meeting beginning at 7AM past dinner which is scheduled end around 9 that evening) of meetings and tours and talks.

“They’re really serious about this.” I said to my parents. “I may throw up.”

They looked at me, both covered in blankets even though my house feels overly warm to me. Chienne is curled between them on the couch while I sit alone on the loveseat. I have closed the document that neatly lists how I will spend two days in the city I rather hope to call my own. Even now, I feel mildly sick at the thought of going and talking and laughing with people only to have them respond in a less-than-impressed manner. So, crap. I don’t feel ready or smart or anything other than scared and ill, frankly.

My plan? I will start with the talk I presented in DC. Then I can add the material I’ve finished since then. A few relevant slides from my defense and one last bit of analysis should round it out. It will be fine. I can get ready in the next few weeks. Yet my stomach remains stubbornly sick.

I think I’m conflicted over what I want here. At no point have I thought I really wanted a faculty position. I don’t teach. I haven’t even done much mentoring since I’ve been here, preferring to be rather selfish and self-involved. It means there is more time for napping and writing my blog or, later, some semblance of a book. I was thinking of it as I just showered, trying to figure out what about this was scaring me so badly, and I may have figured it out.

There’s a point near the beginning of The Thirteenth Tale where the venerable older writer says that she continued to write stories because her characters would call to her. And they distracted her from writing about herself so it was more pleasurable to compose chapters about their lives and loves and adventures. The final story she told was her own since she wanted the truth to be recognized before she died.

Conversely, I seem to believe my story is already written. My email buddy, in one of our many exchanges about relationships, noted that once one recovered from a broken heart, the next one didn’t seem so scary. As one experiences happiness after misery, the lure of pleasure overcomes the avoidance of pain. I remain resolute in my plan to avoid pain though. So all that’s left to do is find a place to live out my remaining years (and there will likely be many - I think I have another 60 years or so left to live) and try not to get overly bored.

At this point, I want to be closer to home. I’d like to buy another house in a part of the country that I rather like. I would like to make a couple of local friends who make me laugh and think. I very much want to get married, but that event seems as unlikely as my sprouting wings and fluttering around to fix my roof on my own. Therefore, it seems like this job would meet my needs. So the trick is convincing them I satisfy theirs on some level.

Which I can do. As soon as I stop feeling sick.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

sorry for your situation with anti-friend, which is a great nickname by the way. two days is a long time but i am sure you will do great! they WILL love you!! best of luck preparing and i hope that your stomach feels better soon!

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