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Friday Afternoon Confessional: It’s always something

I confess that the holiday season is my least favorite time of the year, and I always feel a profound sense of relief when I wake up in the morning on January 1 — finally it’s over. The Girlfriend and I had enjoyed a quiet New Year’s Eve at home, and we hit the ground running with the new year, cleaning out our closets and thoroughly cleaning the apartment. I enjoyed a week of relative bliss, working steadily on class prep and research-oriented tasks.

Since then, however, I have been in a state of continual worry. First, it was my teaching evaluations (which were actually fine but — horrors! — contained some critical comments), then it was the grim prospect of a regularly-scheduled early morning meeting time that would require me to come to campus a full six hours before my first class, and then it was an error with my direct deposit that delayed my paycheck by a week. What was strange about this is that the objective events overlapped somewhat, but I didn’t start worrying about the next thing until the previous one was resolved — i.e., only once it was settled that the regular meeting time would be more convenient did I begin to worry in earnest about my paycheck. This “wait in line” feel is especially odd given that the paycheck issue seems to be objectively much more important than the meeting issue.

I confess that last night I deposited my replacement paycheck after what felt to me like a strong end to a pretty solid first week of teaching, so hopefully I can calm down.

I confess that my fascination with sartorial concerns has not died down in the new semester and that I have in fact entered into a new experimental phase. I’ve ventured into the risky brown-plus-gray combo and attempted to subtly coordinate apparently clashing plaid prints (on jacket, tie, and shirt!). My students seem to find it amusing to comment on such matters.

I confess that The Girlfriend brought up the possibility of foreign travel during the summer this morning. Though we’ve discussed it many times, this morning I suddenly decided that I would renew my passport today, right now. I confess that this process led to the revelation that The Girlfriend possessed a previously unknown stapler, a piece of office equipment that I have been lacking for over a year — this made me happy.


January 20, 2012 - Posted by | Friday Afternoon Confessional


  1. I confess to forgetting gloves last night when I went running. This despite it being 18 F (-8 C). For the first two miles, I had real concerns about damaging my hands when they were still painfully cold after I tucked them under my shirt and then in my running pants pockets. By the third mile, though, being cold was no longer an issue. In fact, after four miles I had to take my balaclava (think ninja hood) off completely because my breath was causing condensation on my eyelashes, which then froze (weird feeling). The funny thing is at the end of the run, I was doing my cooldown walk and when other passed me, I just looked like somebody who was tragically underdressed even though I had completely sweat through every piece of clothing I had on.

    I confess to not having thrown a party at my house in nearly six years. This is particularly depressing considering a) we used to throw a couple a year and b) we LOVE throwing parties and c) our reason for not throwing a party is various parts of the house not being ready for that level of company. I confess to missing trying to make way through my house when it is literally packed with people I love spending time with.

    Comment by Matt in Toledo | January 20, 2012

  2. Oh, and Adam’s confession reminds me of something funny I noticed on Twitter. Detroit Tiger pitcher Justin Verlander appeared on Conan a while back. On TV, it looked like he was wearing a black suit and light brown shoes. His followers went CRAZY asking him what he was doing combining the two. The next day he took the time to explain the suit was navy blue and that he knows what he’s doing when it comes to dressing.

    Comment by Matt in Toledo | January 20, 2012

  3. I confess that I have been maintaining my paranoid style of financial management during the early years of my employment — rule #1 being never to even run the mild risk of bouncing a check (and so never making a payment that depends on money coming in at the planned/promised time).

    I was starting to feel stupid about this, as I will presumably be getting regularly scheduled paychecks for the indefinite future now, and I was strongly considering scheduling a payment to correspond to my direct deposit this very pay period. But something within me said: No, not yet. And now I obviously have to maintain the paranoid system at least until I can be sure the problem has been totally resolved.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | January 20, 2012

  4. I confess that I redid my band’s website this afternoon. I confess that my band played exactly one three songs live last year, as part of a cabaret evening that our bass player didn’t even show up to. I confess that the website overhaul was motivated entirely by my singer not wanting to be embarrassed if anyone who reads her bio in her forthcoming YA novel searches out our band as a result.

    I confess that after about two hours using Wix I began to consider the sunk costs fallacy, but soldiered on.

    Comment by Josh K-sky | January 21, 2012

  5. I was at a meeting yesterday–a lunch one, even worse–and my two colleagues arrived like fifteen and twenty minutes late each. This, I confess, was rather annoying. It was also rather annoying that the meeting could have been done in twelve minutes over email if not for the fact that one of them does not know how to use email. My colleagues, both female, were very taken by the news that that skier had died. “It’s so tragic,” said one. “Yes, and she was really pretty,” said the other. “Yes, that’s tragic,” replied the first. I couldn’t figure out the connection between the skier’s looks–she’s not exactly what I’d describe as “attractive,” but no one asked me–and her death. Yes, feminism has a strangle-hold on the academy. They also both announced that they would be missing classes this semester because they were going on vacation. One of them was going on two vacations this semester!

    In six years of teaching full time, I’ve missed two classes. One because there was like 50 cm of snow on the ground and I couldn’t get out of the driveway and the other due to a sudden family emergency. I’d never miss teaching due to a vacation–I even decline to attend conferences, including presenting at them, if it will affect my teaching. I guess some have less dedication to The Job than others.

    Oh, I dreamt that Adam would get into another Twitter fight on some silly political issue or for making fun of a rival academic school of thought. When I looked at Twitter this afternoon this dream had come true! Next week I’ll try to dream that I suddenly came into a shitload of money.

    Comment by Craig | January 21, 2012

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