Will's Coffee House

John Dryden, Dramatist, Critic, Poet Laureate, and my ancestor, frequented a coffee house called Will's almost daily, where he would hold forth on sundry subjects with great wit and aplomb. Same deal here, only without the wit or aplomb.

Location: Large Midwestern City, Midwestern State, United States

I am a stranger in a sane land...

Thursday, September 14, 2006


I think, apart from the existence of people like Paris Hilton, what I hate most in this life is uncertainty. Which means, of course, that I hate most of this life, since life is uncertainty, as everyone from the Stoics to Stephen Hawking will tell you. And some uncertainty is good--as we all remember from that one cool episode of The Twilight Zone, a life where one knows the outcome of absolutely everything before it happens is, literally, Hell. But I just had a short chat with the chair (person, not inanimate object) who hired me, and he reminded me, in the kindest possible way--really a great guy, him--that while he thinks the department is lucky to have me and they'd love to keep me around, that I'm technically only a Visiting Professor and there are no guarantees and that while it's highly, highly probable that I'll be picked up for next year at least, that he can't assure me of that, and the decision really isn't in his hands, and they may decide just to do a full-blown job search and kick me to the curb at the end of it (well, he didn't say that, but trust me, that would be the outcome.) Which blows, because I really love this place, and it seems to love me--my students are lively and engaged and becoming more so with each day--they're getting ready to trust me and like me, which is all to the good, yes?--and everyone here has been, as I've said elsewhere, as lovely as can be. And to have the chance of losing all this--particularly after a gruelling cross-country move to get here--is just...chilling. Uncertainty. Not a good thing, here. Sigh...


Anonymous Katie said...

Want to know what I think? You should, actually, since I received about $5K for a 5 minute presentation yesterday and have thus decided that my time is worth about $1000/minute. Which I knew of course, but it's nice to have confirmation.

The way I see your situation is that, well, yes, it could be better. People could be watching you with the appropriate awe and adoration, then beg you to never leave them. The other extreme is that you'd be left feeling confused over why you were still looking for a job you could love. So being in the middle - happy where you are, hoping for the best, doing good work - seems OK. I think - if I'm going to be optimistic - that it just might work out for you there. And if not, then there's something better for you.

My overall thought is that - in your position - I'd try to buy into the belief that things work out in the end. It may not be true, but at least there's some comfort in the present moment.

Well, at least until you end up in Hell. (Relieved to be nailed to the cross? Really?) But at least once you're there, your office will be warm!

11:58 AM  
Blogger Jehanus Bleak said...

Speaking of crucifixions and Stepford wives, are you quite sure that the local red-staters haven't just lured you there to inflict some horrific doom upon you? A town of overly friendly people, and (yikes!) attentive students just sounds too unnatural. Or have the cross burnings been confined to the other side of the tracks this summer? Maybe you should check to see what became of your predecessor when his/her/its year was up...

6:07 AM  

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