because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

Call Me Relentless

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Since I didn’t teach this semester, I am a little out of the loop. Okay, a lot out of the loop. It’s amazing how quickly one can fall right out of the loop. So I am a little loopy. And even though Fall 2010 was a tough one, filled with cheaters plagiarism issues and unintentional falls down staircases, and confrontations in elevators, I am pleased to report that I no longer feel like a three-legged table. I am 100% centered again. In my 100% always off-kilter way.

Back in March, I received an email from The Scheduler at the community college where I have taught as an adjunct for the last four years, stating that it was time to start thinking about courses for the fall.

Let’s just say I was a little geeked up excited when The Scheduler’s email arrived, so I tapped out a quick reply. Upon reflection, I see that if I had myself as a student, I think I would kill me. I am one positively relentless human being.

• • •

From: Me

Sent: Wednesday, March 02, 2011 9:30 PM

To: The Scheduler

Dear Scheduler:

Is this form for Fall 2011? Even though it says “Spring 2011 Scheduling Preferences,” in the subject line?

• • •

From: The Scheduler

Sent: Wednesday, March 03, 2011 10:49 AM

To: Me

It should have been Fall 2011!

Thanks for the good eyes!

• • •

From: Me

Sent: Wednesday, March 04, 2011 9:30 PM

To: The Scheduler

I just don’t want to miss my big chance.

• • •

From: The Scheduler

Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2011 9:36 AM

To: The Entire English & Philosophy Departments

Um….  Mr. Perfect Here.

I realize I didn’t name the Fall 2011 schedule request form correctly.

So, even though the form says “Spring 2011” let’s just pretend it said “Fall 2011.”

And if you’re super picky, here’s the attachment.

Whoops.

• • •

Call me crazy, but I am 97.3% sure that The Scheduler was talking specifically to me when he used the words “super picky.” I decided that the best thing to do was to lay low.

I did.

For 27 hours.

• • •

From: Me

Sent: Wednesday, March 09, 2011 12:07 PM

To: The Scheduler

Dear Mr. Perfect:

Mrs. Anal-Retentive here.

Was that form just for full-timers? Or were adjuncts supposed to respond, too? (*holding my head*) I’m sooooo confused. Anyway, I’m shooting you my response via attached email since I am off-campus because I don’t want to blow my big chance. I hope that is not too much of a pain.

I’ve got a lot of Mrs. Anal-Retentive with a side order of Li’l Pain in the Arse goin’ on.

Either way, I hope you get the gist of what I’m hoping for with regard to Fall 2011.

Any questions, feel free to call me or just berate me via email.

• • •

From: The Scheduler

Sent: Wednesday, March 09, 2011 12:09 PM

To: Me

Hi, Renee!

Yes, you’ll get another form specifically for adjuncts in the next day or so.

It’s less complicated, and it has more information regarding late starts.

Thanks for your patience.

• • •

From: Me

Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 2:22 PM

To: The Scheduler

So I filled in that first form. You know, the one that I wasn’t supposed to?

Can I consider myself in the cyber pile? Or do I need to redo and put a hard copy in your mailbox?

• • •

From: The Scheduler

Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2011 7:15 PM

To: ENG/PHL adjuncts

Subject: 2011 Fall Adjunct Schedule Request Form

Please complete the form attached, and return it to my department mailbox by Friday, 8 April 2011.  A hard-copy has been placed into your department mail folder. If no form is returned, I will assume that you are unavailable in the Fall. Assignments will be distributed by late April.

• • •

From: Me

Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2011 7:15 PM

To: The Scheduler

Hi Scheduler:

Okay, I’m re-submitting.

On the correct form.

Just to prove my uber-dedication.

I hope it is not a problem that I am submitting an attachment, as I am not on campus this semester.

I’m not usually a non-compliant, pain in the patootie.

Sometimes it just seeps out a little.

• • •

I experience what feels like an outrageous gap in time. During this three-week silent treatment period, I panic. I wonder how much The Scheduler hates my guts and how low I have slid down the adjunct totem pole. I decide that I will take anything he offers. I decide I will teach at a ridiculous hour, even if it requires hiring someone to drive my child to his after school activities. I consider sending The Scheduler a bouquet of flowers from Teleflora.com, just to show him how much I care.

Instead, I sent him another email.

• • •

From: Me

Sent: Wednesday, April 17, 2011 10:59 PM

To: The Scheduler

Um… Hi Scheduler:

I know you are on break, but – as I explained before – I have been a naughty girl, and I haven’t been checking my school email account as I’m not teaching this semester.

Have decisions been made about the fall semester?

Do I get to have even a single section? (*she asked hopefully*)

I saw Most Awesome Department Chair make a mention about book orders for the summer session, and I know Highly Muscled Book Store Dude likes fall orders to be in as soon as possible.

Let me know when you get a moment.

Thank you.

• • •

From: The Scheduler

Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2011 12:24 PM

To: Me

I’ll be sending out a fall scheduling notification by the end of April; none has been announced.

This will give you plenty of time to submit book orders for the fall, okay?

• • •

Okay, so I am supposed to wait until the end of April.

I can do that. I think I can. I mean, I will try.

Really. Hard.

• • •

From Me

Sent: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 11:16 AM

To: The Scheduler

Dear Sweet Scheduler:

You mentioned that scheduling should be done by the end of April.

And now it is May.

So I figured I’d just send a quick email to… you know: do what I do.

Hope you had a great Spring Break.

• • •

From: The Scheduler

Sent: Wednesday, May 6, 2011 12:06 PM

To: All Adjuncts

Subject: Fall 2011 Scheduling Update: Adjuncts

Dear ENG/PHL adjuncts:

I ask for your patience regarding schedules that I had hoped to have complete by late yesterday.

Some schedules will be posted today, and the remainder will be completed by Monday.

Thanks, again, for your patience.

• • •

Clearly, my roiling anxiety has caused The Scheduler to send out another email. It is all my fault. He must think I am crazy. I start wondering if he has heard stories about me, if they are discussing me during faculty meetings. I wonder if my constant emailing could be construed as cyber-bullying.

The Scheduler requests patience.

I wait four days.

• • •

From: Me

Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2011 10:02 AM

To: The Scheduler

Should I freak out yet?

Or are you still scheduling?

• • •

From: The Scheduler

Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2011 10:05 PM

To: Me

Don’t freak.

• • •

From: Me

Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2011 10:10 AM

To: The Scheduler

Is it okay if I still freak?

I like to do that on Tuesdays.

But I’m glad I’m not “packing my knives” or “the weakest link,” and I’m glad “the tribe” hasn’t spoken.

You know what I mean.

Phew. (*wipes brow*)

• • •

From: The Scheduler

Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2011 10:12 PM

To: Me

You’re funny.  Have we met in person?

• • •

From: Me

Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 12:13 PM

To: The Scheduler

Dear Scheduler:

I am pretty sure we have met, but obviously my name didn’t stick.

I’m the cute one. 😉

Will this get me the class of my dreams?

• • •

From: The Scheduler

Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 1:46 PM

To: Me

Hi, Renee.  I have you down for classes X and Y on such and such days at such and such hours. Fabulous Secretary will enter the information into the evil computer system this afternoon.

• • •

From: Me

Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 2:13 PM

To: The Scheduler

Thanks Scheduler!

You totally rock!

And thanks for bearing with me while I have nagged you.

For weeks.

Or has it been months?

I’m like the wife you never wanted.

• • •

At long last, this squeaky wheel knows she will have a place to roll. Come September, I will have people to call my own. Life is good. (It is also good that The Scheduler cannot see me doing my dance of joy right now.) Because we all know what happened the last time I went dancing.