06 November 2010

Moving On At The End Of Daylight Savings Time

Tonight--or, more precisely, at two o'clock tomorrow morning--Daylight Savings Time ends.  That means the clocks are turned back an hour.

That is particularly ironic for me.  As I have described in earlier posts, various parts of my life are moving forward, whether or not as a result of my doing.  And, as I have also described, I do not have the option of going back, even if I wanted to do such a thing.

My working life, if nothing else, is making that abundantly clear.  I am teaching in two places where nobody --at least, nobody who had any authority to interview or schedule me--knew me.  And, save for one prof at the technical institute who knew me from long ago, I have not talked about my past with anyone.  And I didn't talk about my transition with him:  He seemed to know more or less what I did, and he has only a vague memory of the person who once shared a desk with him at John Jay College, where I taught just after I finished graduate school.  So much has passed since then!

Meanwhile, something even stranger is happening at my main job.  It's as if people are moving forward in my life--my previous life, that is--without me in it.  What's even stranger is that I'm not upset with them because, really, I don't have the choice--no, the luxury--of doing so.   Yes, I did suggest that the college could use an LGBT organization (The college is part of a university that includes twenty other colleges and is the only college among them that doesn't have an LGBT organization.)  and volunteered to do the work to organize, and enlist support, for it.  The college's administration thought it "too controversial" (What city are we in?  What century?) and not only nixed the idea, but cast aspersions on me for suggesting it.  Now they're willing to support other profs in doing it, and I really am not interested in it now.  I don't know what I'd say if those profs approached me to work with them on it.  

It's not a matter of "sour grapes."  Rather, I have come to realize that the college is so decidedly un-progressive in its attitude toward LGBT people, and much else.  So, I have to wonder just how much the college administration is willing to support those profs who are talking about starting an organization.  And, quite frankly, my interests and energies are moving in other directions.  I'm finding that there's not much, if anything, I can do about that.

The same holds true about a hip-hop institute I suggested while I was teaching a course in the poetics and rhetoric of that art-form.  Other profs are probably going to run with it; they can have it because, even though I suggested it, I feel that the idea is not mine anymore.  Or, at least, I don't feel as if I have a place in it.

On the other hand, at the technical institute and at the other college, I really don't feel any compulsion--for now, anyway--to do more than to teach and be a supportive presence for whoever may need or want it.  I don't yet know whether there are any "in" or "out" groups in either place, and if there are, I may not need to know, at least not yet.  In contrast, I now realize that at my main job, even though I have been involved in two committees and a number of other activities, and gained respect for my teaching, I was never one of the "cool kids," if you will.  And, what I learned is that it's the sort of place in which that's exactly what you have to be, or become.  You know whether or not that has happened if you are part of a clique.  I'm not, and that's why I actually feel more like an outsider at that college than I did on the day I started there almost six years ago.

As I describe all of those things, they already feel like part of the past and are unchangeable in the same way. You don't grow up by trying to change your childhood; you use what you can from it to help you move forward.  There are times when that college feels like as much a part of my past as junior high school, to which I have compared the college.  (I've also compared it to a juvenile detention center, as the power relationships operate in almost exactly the same way as those among detained adolescents.)  Some people there are proceeding without me; I am moving in the direction in which I need to move.

They say the fall is a time of change.  Indeed it is.  The end of Daylight Savings Time is part of it.