Since we’re transcribing conversations today, here’s an illuminating, cautionary moment for anyone who might, say, want to remain gainfully employed for a while. After three hours of teaching, and while retrieving the day’s 40th cup of coffee, this is pretty much the chat I had with someone as we exchanged a thermos of cream.
Me: [weary, unnecessarily self-pitying sigh.]
Stranger: Well, you sound wiped out.
Me: Yeah, I don’t know how I ever make it through the first day. My wife teaches middle school, and I honestly don’t know how she gets through it.
[Stranger offers what I, with my crackerjack perception, interpret as the universal facial expression for, “Oh? Amuse me some more, you clever young man.”]
Me: Seriously. If I worked more than ten hours a week, I’d have to be hospitalized.
Today is the first day of my sixth year teaching at a small public university, where I have evidently not absorbed any number of powerful lessons about not saying the first thing that comes to mind. The stranger, I have come to find out, is the new dean of my college. Although I’m pretty sure my annual evaluations will indicate that I have devoted nearly all of my waking hours to laboring on behalf of the state, I have to marvel at my ability to start things off on the wrong foot.
If I were a character in a mob film, I’d probably be wearing concrete shoes within the first half hour.