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Friday Afternoon Confessional: Breaking up is hard to do

I confess that moving away from Chicago is going to be difficult, including moving out of this specific apartment. It admittedly hasn’t felt quite the same for the last few months since my previous roommate of three years moved out, but this is still a pretty significant place for me. It’s where I wrote two books and a dissertation, but also where I did a ton of other work — studying for comprehensive exams, the slow accretive work of language acquisition, the papers and book reviews and the first forays into pop culture writing. It’s where I wrote my first lectures for classes I TAed, and now where I developed my first syllabi. It’s where I first started to get into film in a serious way. It’s where I watched every episode of The Wire and The Sopranos and Mad Men. It’s where I read Infinite Jest. It’s been my “office” for the financial writing job that has allowed me to make ends meet throughout my PhD. Perhaps it’s fitting that I leave this place as a new phase is beginning, although — I confess — I am in many ways viewing this one-year stint as a kind of completion of my education, allowing me to test my wings as a teacher in a positive, non-exploitative environment.

I confess that the thought of beginning the job application process again is not a happy one, though I do think I have a better handle on things this time around and am probably much better-positioned now that I have my degree in hand and will have the “teaching experience” issue under control by the time a new appointment would begin. I confess that I am nonetheless setting my expectations low, already emotionally prepared to end my time at Kalamazoo with nothing else immediately on the horizon and to spend another year or two making ends meet in Chicago.

Though this attitude is “realistic,” perhaps it’s another form of denial, making my break from Chicago temporary. I’ll admit that I’ve become attached to the city and have gone months at a time — perhaps even close to a year at one point — without leaving the reach of public transit (a designation that allows me to count Evanston as an “honorary” part of Chicago). I confess that, as I make my regular trips back on Amtrak, I may be able to mentally annex Kalamazoo to the permitted zone, as long as I manage to go without a car — which strikes me, after wandering around Kalamazoo, as something that would actually be doable.

It’d better be doable for the first month or so at least, because I confess that the easiest solution — finding someone to take my place in my apartment and thereby both avoiding double rent and getting my deposit back immediately, a solution that would leave me strangely flush with cash after a summer of marginal employment — does not appear to be “in the cards.” Maybe I’ll be surprised! But as it stands, my renowned skills at money management in a no-margin-for-error environment will continue to be in demand for another month. Not the worst thing in the world, and probably not worth the level of stress I have been experiencing — but certainly not the best thing in the world.


August 21, 2009 - Posted by | Friday Afternoon Confessional


  1. I confess that University of Wyoming will be hiring in the Religious Studies program this year. I don’t know what they’re looking for, and I don’t know if that’s even the kind of program someone with your background applies to (I confess). Nonetheless, I do confess that it’s a pretty good place to work, and that you would in fact probably find Laramie “doable” without a car. Of course, then you could never leave

    Comment by Adam Henne | August 21, 2009

  2. Well, if I was going to Wyoming, I’d have to get a car to do the Great American Road Trip on my way there. Thanks for the heads-up.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | August 21, 2009

  3. You could get a car for the Road Trip, then sell it when you arrive. This I confess.

    I confess that I had a good meeting with my advisor yesterday.

    Comment by ben | August 21, 2009

  4. Or I could drive you.

    Comment by ebolden | August 21, 2009

  5. I confess I dreamt of plane crashes and infidelity and then awoke to my water glass shattering, which I’d somehow knocked over with my foot. I confess the glass was from my trip to Stone Brewery and its absence is felt. I confess I’m still shaken up.

    Comment by ebolden | August 21, 2009

  6. I confess that moving-away-from-grad-school-city-one-has-come-to-love is probably one of life’s biggest stressors; at least, it was for me. I confess that I have a lot of sympathy for you doing that, Adam.

    I confess that I have found a job listing that’s semi-local (okay, maybe a 30-40 minute commute) that looks like it was written for me. I confess that thre are two other localish employers (30 mins) that also seem like they would be good fits. I confess that a community college in the next town emailed me yesterday about picking up a class, and that while the money would be very handy (letting me pay off the big credit card by the end of the semester), I really don’t want to teach another course under the conditions of my last one. I confess that I nonetheless agreed to an interview and that this has spurred me to want to apply for “real” jobs so that I don’t have to end up doing that one. I confess that I’m not updating my resume *right this minute* because I am lazy but that I’m going to do so this weekend, no really I am.

    Comment by bitchphd | August 21, 2009

  7. I confess that after getting completely shut out of on-campus jobs, my financial situation is looking pretty shitty, and I’m too lazy to go out around this little down to look for a grocery store job or something.

    I confess that I want to get back into some of my philosophy reading to get a jump start on this independent study I’m taking, but I’ll probably be satisfied with lounging around the internet until dinner.

    Comment by dave | August 21, 2009

  8. I confess that I ate shittily and thus gained a couple pounds this week. I confess that the produce is still sitting in the fridge unwashed and unchopped.

    I confess that I *may* be adequately prepared for this afternoon’s committee meeting. I confess that if I weren’t such an inveterate procrastinator, I would be totally and completely prepared, instead of being beset by angst. A couple more hours! All I need is a couple more hours! Yet, I confess, it’s always just a couple more hours that I need. I confess that every time I am in this situation, I think back to a dialogue in my introductory German textbook, wherein one student is asking the other why he always puts off his work to the last minute. The procrastinating student answers, “Ich brauche den Stress!” I confess that I like that line very much. Me too, procrastinating German student. Ich brauche den motherfucking Stress.

    I confess that I am not looking forward to the political debates that will come up during my visit home—especially since I haven’t been doing more homework (i.e., reading blog comments) with respect to the issues.

    Comment by transportinburma | August 21, 2009

  9. I confess that I watched the Lifetime Network last night. I confess that I enjoy watching Project Runway.

    I confess that I’m contemplating buying a large, flat screen TV with a recent bonus I received from my employer. I confess that this purchase would go against my desire to live simply. I confess that I thought of giving away the rest of the bonus as a way to make myself feel better about buying the TV. Mea culpa.

    Comment by Jon | August 21, 2009

  10. I wish you well in Michigan!

    I confess that I have tons of time on my hands, and that I think it’s awesome that I have lifetime access to the library. “I can come in and read any books or journals that I please? I can get knowledge for free?!” I confess that I almost feel guilty about being the least ambitious, least bourgeois-lifestyle-inclined (insofar as it requires creating family and career, and no further!) person in my loose college-friends circle. It’s like an Apatow character realizing the possible greatness of becoming unstuck from the overarching inevitability of “settling down”.

    I confess that a part of me hopes that all the doomsaying re: peak oil, great depression II, impending conservative brownshirt activity, etc. is all true.

    Comment by Currence | August 21, 2009

  11. I confess that I sometimes want science to go suck a dick.

    Comment by transportinburma | August 21, 2009

  12. I confess that my sex dreams always end (before they begin) with me remembering to be faithful. I confess that there was a lag time of about two years before I changed which wife I was being faithful to.

    I confess I don’t necessarily wish this to be the case, dream-wise.

    Comment by k-sky | August 21, 2009

  13. I ain’t gonna confess to jack shit. Okay, I’ll confess to the following: I’m going through this strange period where I’m addicted to various extremely obscure 1970’s British TV Shows (notably, Children of the Stones, Callan, The Sandbaggers): man, were those fuckers gloomy then or what? It looked like everybody lived and worked in a badly maintained basement then.

    Comment by burritoboy | August 21, 2009

  14. I confess that I recently began dating a Kalamazoo grad, and your impending employment there proved to be a convenient conversation starter. I confess that I have milked this for all it was worth.

    “Yeah there’s this guy… and I read his blog… and…”

    I confess that things are going amazingly well in spite of this.

    Comment by Hill | August 21, 2009

  15. I confess that during every ad break now, I see at least one ad that makes me imagine Don Draper patiently explaining to the “creatives” behind it why their advert doesn’t work.

    Comment by voyou | August 22, 2009

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