Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sweating the Small Stuff

Mercury must be retrograde, or Mars in my planetary house of doom and small aggravations, or whatever. Rob Brezny predicts aggravation for the coming week, but it’s already happening.

First, there was the $2700 bill to fix the tranny, wheel drums, and a bunch of other stuff on the Toyota, a car I thought I’d been taking good care of. Okay, that’s not such small stuff, at least not to me. Not only was I just docked more than a grand for not infecting our students with my bronchitis, now I’ve got a huge payload just to keep my job. I commute 44 miles every day, and there is no public transportation that wouldn’t add a couple of hours, minimum, onto the trip each way. I’d have to take three buses to get to PalmTran, ride the commuter train, then take another bus to campus. I might as well set up a cot in my office and just live here. Of course, the a/c is out again, and there are no windows in my gray cubicle, so that’s a less than ideal plan, too.

Second, yesterday I got a $25 parking ticket because some moron misread the temporary parking hangar on the rearview mirror of the rental I’m driving. The parking permit clearly says “NOT VALID FOR MORE THAN 5 DAYS PAST THIS DATE: 10-10-06.” The ticket-writer apparently cannot read because the ticket was issued for “temporary parking expired 10-10-06.”

This is small stuff. But it is annoying. I’ve been embroiled for more than 2 weeks trying to get one stinking day’s pay for the online course I continued to tend during the five days I was out sick with bronchitis. You would think I was asking to refinance the war in Iraq for the red tape I had to go through. I’d like to spend some time teaching, for goodness sake.

I’ve also been trying to hook up with the representative for the retirement plan – and I’ve been trying to do that since early September. I’ve called both Valic and TIAA-CREF. It might be easier to negotiate a nuclear arms conference with North Korea, which upset world politics this week by what it claims was an underground bomb test.

Last, this morning, I come to my office to find a new sign: Dr. Eric Sxxxxxxx. It’s Enid. C’mon, y’all, we’re the intelligentsia, right? We can spell. I know Enid is a hard name. All my life, I’ve been called Edna and Edith because people can’t hear -- E – N – I – D – even when I spell it out letter by letter. I’ve also been called Ena and Nina. But Eric? That’s not even the right gender.

Why am I bothered by all this? Probably because of the money troubles. It intensifies everything else. Having a temporary 9-month contract does not help. I don’t like financial insecurity. I want to be toddling toward retirement, saving money, spending my summers blissfully in Taos or a small camper – a Scamp or Casita – seeing the country. Or I think I do, even though I’ve never, ever been camping and have considered myself a room-service kinda gal up til now.

But I digress. In the end, I went off to class. When calling roll, my students each gave one good thing in their lives recently, and that turned things around. They are delightful.

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