Day 1,692 – Flailing
I read the other day Mary Cullinen has resigned as President of SOU and will be moving to Cheney, Washington to take up the presidency of Eastern Washington University. I’ve lived to witness the end of an era; the close of the bizarre reign of the outright nastiest, fear-ridden, petty bureaucrat I’d ever met. I thought I’d feel better when she inevitably fell from her creaky perch at SOU, but I don’t. It’s yet another example of “damage done.” I can’t un-live the moments I spent in her presence. I can’t get back the time wasted placating her Captain Queeg-esque paranoia and reactionary management style. I can only move forward with my life… which, as I get older, is becoming harder and harder.
My experience at SOU put the final nail in a coffin I’d been building for some time. I look back on the experience as a tour of duty. But it was actually worse than being a soldier because many of the fighters weren’t united against a clueless administration, they were simultaneously clawing their way to the top of the heap, gleefully throwing colleagues overboard or under the wheels of the machine in the hopes of garnering one more scrap for their tenure file, or dollar from the department budget. As the money dried up it got uglier by the day and I admit to accepting my lay-off notice with a sense of profound relief.
Now I’m wondering what comes next and find I’m flailing like a drowning man.
Higher ed is probably off the table, but it’s all I’ve known for years. I cling to the belief that education could still be the silver bullet that fixes the looming problems we face as a planet, but I’ve seen how the sausage gets made and can’t un-see it.
Private sector web work is also probably off the table because, frankly, I can’t seem to give a shit about one product vs another product, etc. Plus in Internet Years, I’m dead.
Small-scale farming has proved, in some ways, worse than SOU in that rather than joining a community with a “we’re all in this together” mentality I’ve found brutal competition, false marketing, and massive inequality in resources and abilities. And again I find Woody Allen correct when he said “It’s worse than dog-eat-dog, it’s dog doesn’t return other dog’s phone calls.” Plus I’ve also learned most people care far, far more about ornamentation than food. They’re way more interested in the pedigree of their weed than their eggs. Sure, some people care deeply about food, but even the most agrarian-minded person has spent a lifetime paying less than what it actually costs to produce food thanks to a raft of subsidies, so it is very difficult to overcome that mindset in a way that is sustainable and repeatable.
So what comes next? At this juncture I’ve no idea beyond knowing it’s almost time to gather eggs.