Dot writes: sometimes I wish I weren’t such a delicate flower. As I was getting off the DART this morning I clocked one of my colleagues emerging one carriage down; so once I’d passed through the ticket check I waited for her. I was heading for the sports centre and not all the way to the Arts Building but it still seemed the friendly thing to join her on the first stretch of the walk. I missed her coming down the steps, but then I spotted her in front of me, caught her up and said “Hello, how are you?” To which she replied: “I’m feeling quite ill actually and I really don’t want to talk”, turned sharply and headed off in the opposite direction.

I was ridiculously hurt. In fact I was on the verge of tears. I had to talk myself calm: she’s a brusque person, she works stupidly hard, she probably does feel ill, it’s not personal, she wasn’t thinking about you but just about how difficult everything is for her and how she needs quiet. But I couldn’t help also thinking: yes, and your silly puppy bounciness and inane chatter were absolutely the last thing she wanted to meet. Because I do feel, in my weaker self, that I’m the departmental dunce: the one who’s not publishing, who’s not witty, who talks only about babies. (I am publishing, I am, I am. I have an edited book coming out in a month or two. But it was sent off before Hugh was born…)

Anyway, I went to the sports centre, did sixteen lengths of the pool, and then spent the day working over a friend’s paper in extreme detail, pausing only to go to the Parental Group coffee morning and make friends with a woman in Linguistics. In fact I had a productive day using my body and my brain and felt good about myself. But those fears and insecurities are so near the surface and so easily awakened.

Positive thinking. That’s what I need. And some more publications. I’m working on it.


3 thoughts on “Wilts

  1. Mean lady is mean 😦

    I’m sorry, being sick is no excuse for being rude. If she said “Oh, I’m not feeling very well. Excuse me if I’m not sociable” and you KEPT bugging her and then she snapped – that would be reasonable. But she doesn’t get to fly off the handle just because you were being friendly.

  2. For goodness sake, Dot…you’re the mother of two very young children…you shouldn’t be worrying about publishing or stuff like that… the stage you’re at with your family, all you need to worry about is if you survive to the end of the day.

    You’re doing a fabulous job…don’t worry what the miserable people in academia think about you 🙂

  3. Dot

    Thankyou for your comments, both of you. My colleague contacted me today to apologise and explain (see next post). Also, today I joined an academic writing group, so maybe that will help with the publishing issue.

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