17 June 2020

Watch Out for the Key Change at the End of the Second Verse

I feel like I'm supposed to be having some sort of socially relevant commentary about 2020, and y'all. I just can't. Life with a chronic illness means I have very little energy for extraneous things like thinking when things are going well, and I feel like I've been in a low-level flare ever since *gestures vaguely at universe* all of this started thirty seconds into what was supposed to be spring break but turned into an extended dance remix of never seeing my beloved students again and mostly being locked in my apartment. Which fortunately I adore. Because gurrl.

 It's also made my response time weaker than I'd like about the racial injustice we are (maybe) finally beginning to address as a nation. Tiny Doodlehem has so far had two protests and a community prayer service in front of City Hall, with a third protest planned for next week. Fortunately the Plaza is two easily walkable blocks from my home, so I've been able to participate at the fringes. Which, frankly, is my place right now as a white woman. Both days were also unbearably hot, so putting my white female body on the line for these protestors happened in a different way than most people might imagine, and involved days of rest after both events. Police presence so far has been substantial and visible, but largely benign, relatively speaking. Mostly directing traffic, but definitely there.

There's also been some really difficult conversations taking place at my place of (prior? current? It's hard to say. More on that as it becomes available) employ, led by our actually quite remarkable Chief of Campus Police. The retired City Chief and a former Marine until he was injured, he seems to be having a come to Jesus moment, none too soon. But the university itself has a long way to go to even be benignly un-racist, let alone anti-racist. Meanwhile, they're eager to have students return to campus in the fall, confident that they'll all wash their hands and wear masks and take their temperatures diligently. These are students I can't even convince to stay out of class when they have an upper respiratory infection, no matter how many emails I send them that say pretty much, "Y'all fixna kill me by doing that. Please cease." Most of my department's classrooms are very small, and located in a basement. I do not see this going well for vulnerable populations OH WAIT A MINUTE THAT'S ME.

And all of this at a place I'm not even sure is going to hire me again in three months, and if they do it will be as an adjunct, which means financial and academic precarity and oh yeah, no health coverage.

I'm not saying this to bitch. I'm saying this to take a long, hard look at where we are right now as a community, and where I am as a white woman with a (slightly dysfunctional) body, and how all of these things intersect with an eye towards what has to change.