I got the job.
So why do I feel like throwing up? Well, that’s because that’s what I was doing the last time I taught composition to college students.
I was a grad student at Eastern Washington who managed to meet, move in with, marry, and become impregnated by Husband-Man within six months of meeting him. I entered my second year in grad school with a different last name and abject, bone-withering, 24/7 morning sickness. I remember sitting up in bed and throwing up into a mixing bowl in my lap while HM tried to sleep next to me.
We barely knew each other.
The cause of the morning sickness, who was very nearly an only child
I was going through my closet last week trying to update my “wardrobe” (which is a ridiculously formal term for my pathetic hodgepodge of clothes) and found a crummy pair of flats that I remember wearing my first day at Eastern as I tried to convince myself that I would eventually get over my public-speaking phobia.
I had to grin when I realized I won’t have to lie to any of my students about my age this go-round…I used to fib out of necessity because I looked like a high school senior twenty years ago. Nope, lying won’t be necessary after three sons, a miscarriage, seven surgeries, a chronic pain thing, and losing a newspaper.
What does Indiana Jones say? It’s not the years; it’s the mileage.
I know the years have made me an all-around more experienced person, someone who can better handle the inevitable wiseasses and mules you get with each new class. Twenty years ago I was teaching people how to handle a computer mouse for the first time in a brand-new computer lab (the first EWU had in the English department, I believe), and I remember how hard that was for some students.
This was back before surfing the web and texting and cell phones and jump drives—back before people even had a cordless phone or a digital camera in the house. I get a little freaked out when I think about how many things have changed in just twenty years. It seems like a lifetime.
Oh, and the campus bookstore isn’t sure my books will get here in time, I haven’t met a single faculty member other than the nice man who hired me (who happens to be a science professor who's also serving as the dean of instruction thanks to budget cuts). I don’t have a key to either of my classrooms, I don’t know where to park, I’m going to be commuting 150 miles each day on two-lane roads, and they’re calling for an abysmally wet and cold (read: snowy) fall here in the Northwest thanks to La Niña.
Yep, sometimes you gotta be thankful for the mileage.
(And for all of you out there who teach or have taught writing, I could sure use some of your words/websites of wisdom. I’m kind of starting from scratch here.)