Soundtrack to June

To say this month is stressful is an understatement of epic proportions. And it’s only the 1st.

The original plan:

  • June 8: administer and grade 62 finals in Chicago.
  • June 9: take the morning Delta flight from O’Hare to Atlanta. Spend night with folks.
  • June 10: drive to the BRCM to start a nine-week research program with undergrads.
  • August 12: end research program.
  • Labor Day: return to Chicago.

This is a somewhat tight schedule to begin with on the June front. Little room for error.

And that was Plan A; i.e., the plan before “life happens”.

At 4pm CST on Friday May 19th I got an amazing offer from Carnegie Mellon to visit their department for a year. It’s a special position for tenure-tracks at teaching-focused universities to teach a few classes at CMU while enjoying the benefits of…well…being at CMU. It was last-minute (obviously, given the date), and I only had until 4pm CST on Friday, May 26 to reply.

I don’t care what field you’re in, you really don’t want to say “no” to Carnegie Mellon.

So, in five business days I managed to:

(1) get full approval for a year of unpaid leave essentially effective immediately (this takes more time and effort than you’d imagine–you’re basically asking your employer not to pay you or give you benefits for a year so that you can take a visiting position at what is no-questions-asked a great school which makes both you and your place-of-work as a whole look good. And yet this takes time…and conversations with your head, deans, and provosts.).

(2) arrange a move of some sorts. This same week (conveniently?) I had to tell my landlord whether or not I was renewing my lease–which ends July 31. I can barely afford paying one rent–no way am I paying two. I’m losing my apartment for this gig. BUT, the moving all has to go down before June 9 because of the nine-week BRCM trip…which isn’t over until after July 31.

So Plan A was tossed. The current plan now includes

  • June 3-7: expect a moving truck to come to pack up my apartment and put things in storage so that I don’t pay double rent for the next year.
  • June 20-23: expect Salvation Army to come with a truck (with a friend who is earning more brownie points than he possibly can imagine supervising) to empty out the rest of the apartment.

Sadly, I couldn’t get both trucks in at the same time. Still, in one seven day period (max. This conceivably could all go down in four days…) I have a move, finals to give, finals to grade, and trips on planes, trains, and automobiles for a total of about 1000 miles of traveling in 24 hours.

Needless to say, I want to escape reality.

I kinda wish that I were in some late-80s/ early-90s coming-of-age film. You know the type. One that takes place in Portland or somewhere else 30-year-olds go to retire. Where  your gal pals are Winona Ryder and Juliette Lewis and your boyfriend is John Cusack. River Phoenix would have to make an appearance too. A film where everyone–despite only having jobs in video rental stores and coffee shops–manages to live in gorgeous craftsman-style homes. Where there are no cell phones, and where email isn’t exactly a “thing”. Where instead you can literally wrap yourself around a telephone cord. Where a grand romantic gesture might involve running to a payphone in the rain. Where a night in means way too many candles (which never make a mess or set the place on fire), white wine, listening to records (which will be the ONLY R&B heard in the entire film), and painting your nails while wearing an Irish cable-knit sweater and a beret.

I know I’m breaking a bunch of mixtape rules. But I don’t care. If my fantasy of the moment involved being in the record store in High Fidelity, I *might* care. But that’s not part of the current fantasy, and so I don’t care. This is also very love song heavy.

  1. A Campfire Song, 10000 Maniacs
  2. Wake Up, Boo! The Boo Radleys
  3. Grace, Jeff Buckley
  4. I Know It’s Over, Jeff Buckley
  5. Fast Car, Tracy Chapman
  6. Dreams, the Cranberries
  7. Friday I’m In Love, the Cure
  8. Lovesong, the Cure
  9. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Deep Blue Something
  10. More Than Words, Extreme
  11. The Way, Fastball
  12. Jealous Guy, Donny Hathaway (the one R&B for the record-playing scene)
  13. Torn, Natalie Imbruglia
  14. Drive, Incubus
  15. You Learn, Alanis Morissette
  16. Dumb, Nirvana
  17. Fuck and Run, Liz Phair
  18. Everybody Hurts, R.E.M
  19. Shinny Happy People, R.E.M.
  20. Closing Time, Semisonic
  21. Someday, the Strokes
  22. Everything You Want, Vertical Horizon



2 thoughts on “Soundtrack to June

  1. Hi Kiddo, hang in there, were all rooting for you. Some tough times but the Carnegie gig should be a real change of pace and an opportunity. How’d you get the job? Kurt

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. I applied. Sounded like a unique opportunity. =)

      What I did not realize was how late they were going to make a decision. I thought it was over.

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