05 September 2008

Anxiety or Anger?

Got to the luncheon for new full-time faculty members late. Real late. As in 1:30 for something that started at 12:00 and ended at 2:00. There's nothing in my job description that says I'm supposed to go to things like that. But I figured that I'd better make at least an appearance.

Talk about bad timing! I came in as the provost was on the podium. So it was really hard to go unnoticed. And I all but tripped over the college president. And my department chair.

Oh well. If I don't have this job next year I guess I'll just have to...

How will I follow that ellipsis? Well, if I knew, do you think I'd've ended the sentence with it?

Anyway, even after all of the teaching I've done, I don't like to talk to large (or sometimes even small) groups of people. And the provost--who, I learned at that moment, knows my name!--called on me and asked me to talk about my (professional) self for half a minute.

Now, these days I really don't want to talk about myself with anyone who's known me for less than five years. I just don't see the point of it. I'd rather slink off into a corner and read, write or try out a new computer skill.

I heard one new prof talk about all the professional societies he belongs to, all the scholarly articles he's written and conferences he's chaired. My writing is, of course, not of the scholarly kind, and I haven't done all those other things academicians are supposed to do--except teach.

Actually, I'm not misanthropic or anti-social. In the right situations, I actually enjoy talking with people. I just don't like to be forced into it, especially with large groups of people who, it seems, aren't actually listening to what I say but are sizing me up.

And then I had to be part of a group picture. I probably wouldn't even have minded that so much, except that the person I most distrust in the college was taking the shot.

Who is she? The editor of the college newspaper. I will say that it is better than other campus papers I've seen. But the fact that, under her editorship, the paper has won awards gives her a standing with the administation that a low-level instructor like me doesn't have.

I learned that last year, when I complained about her to the administration of the college. For a year before that, she'd been stalking me and trying to get me to sit with her for an interview with me--about the fact that I'm transgender. Yes, she said that. Now, why would I want anyone to write an article solely about that aspect of me?

Then, toward the end of the year, she stopped me in the hallway to say that "someone"--she wouldn't say who, but I have some ideas as to who he/she might be--told her I was getting fired from my old job for sexual misconduct. Of course, she wouldn't tell me who, or what she wanted to know from me. I told her "It's not true." But she persisted. Finally, I snapped. "If you don't leave me alone--and if my name appears in that paper, for any reason at all--you will regret it."

Of course, the administration defended her on the grounds of "free speech" or some such thing. But doesn't the person being stalked or slandered have rights, too?

I dunno. Maybe it's a good thing all of this is happening. Then, after my surgery, I won't have--or be able-- to look back wistfully at this time.

OK, so I'm being faceitous. It's really not a bad weapon for dealing with stuff like this.

And, after the surgery, I probably won't see most of the people who were at that luncheon. Or that editor: She'll have graduated by then.