05 June 2014

Am I Ready?

Yesterday I started teaching a summer class.  It’s the first such course I’m teaching in three years.  In the past, I’ve had good experiences with them:  Students who take them are usually committed or, at least, are working on a different clock from other people.  Maybe the latter is what I like about them.
Perhaps it’s the reason I’ve found myself becoming friendly with a particular faculty member.  This person is a self-described “odd person out”; at the very least, the route this person took to become a professor is very different from others.  This prof—I am doing everything I can not to reveal her/his identity—graduated near the bottom of hiz/hir high school class and didn’t start college until almost the age of 30.

The person of whom I’m speaking conducted a workshop in which I participated before spring break.  That’s how we met.  Actually, I passed this prof any number of times in the hallways and lounges but we never exchanged anything more than a “hello”.  I didn’t have any particular impression of the instructor I’ve mentioned, except for one of suffering.  Maybe that’s the reason I didn’t initiate a conversation:  I knew one or both of us would be telling or hearing a very long story and I wasn’t ready for it.

I’ve found out a bit about this prof’s circumstances and earlier life.  I’ve shared a bit about mine, but of course only in so much detail.  Part of the reason is that we have a professional relationship, but I also knew that anyone who has that person’s sense probably would not talk or listen to anyone who shared any more than I did in the brief time we’ve come to know each other.

What I know is that it won’t be an intimate or romantic relationship.  It has nothing to do with gender identity, sexual proclivities or even either of our relationship status (or lack thereof).  It’s not even a matter of our professional relationship or, at more precisely, my principle (which I’ve broken at least once) of not getting involved with anyone with whom I work.  Rather, I simply sense that sort of energy or chemistry or whatever you want to call it doesn’t exist—and that, if it did, I wouldn’t want to act on it.  In fact, I’m not sure I want to be in that sort of relationship with anybody, even though more than a few people have told me I should “find somebody”. 

If I become friends with the prof in question, that could be a good thing.  But I’m not quite ready to make a new friend anywhere, especially in a workplace.  A friendly acquaintance or colleague would be fine, though.