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