I'm not dead, I just haven't had any motivation, whatsoever, to blog. I've been running here and there, writing papers, reading theory, talking on the phone, etc. But, amidst all the daily crap, I found the inspiration for this-here post.
We're probably all a slave to routine in some way, even if we strive to maintain a more or less routine-free life. I know I do. In some ways. One thing that used to drive me crazy was the mundane nature of my corporate job. I was an intern in a large e-business department for a Fortune 500 company in Dallas, and they hired me part-time to continue my web design work after my internship was up and I was working on my B.A. in New Media (which, neatly enough, became my minor and I changed to English halfway through my Junior year). What drove me from my creative computery stuff? Routine. Simply.
My day then consisted of getting up at 5:30am, hitting the road by 6:15 in a vague (and usually unsuccessful) attempt to avoid Dallas traffic, beginning work at 7:30 and cutting out at 4:30 in another attempt to miss the traffic on the way home. In between there was routine after routine: get to office, put things away, get big thermos of ice water ready for the day, eat muffin for breakfast, surf Amazon until fully awake, clear as much work off the desk as possible by noon so Amazon surfing invokes less guilt, take a smoke-free smoke break with my mom and her work friends (we worked down the hall from one another), more work, lunch with mom and friends, more surfing. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
I thought teaching would be a good way to break up the monotony. I just didn't realize at the time that high school teaching was NOT the way for me to do that. I know many people (some of whom read this blog) who are amazing elementary, middle and high school teachers, and they love it. However, I did not. More routine. Kids need routine. Teachers need routine to stay sane. And the whole bloomin' scenario made me want to disembowel myself with a yardstick.
So I switched over to community college teaching, and VOILA! I was happy. That's not to say that there's a lack of routine, but it's certainly very different. This is fancy routine. Routine with raisins in it (stolen haphazardly from Lulu's blog). OK, not really. It's just short, more spread out routines, which allow me to trick myself into thinking that the routine is gone. And it changes every semester. And they're my routines.
For instance, this semester I teach at both the university and the junior college. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I'm at the university teaching from 10-12 and having office hours from noon to 1:30. On Tuesday and Thursday I'm at the junior college from 2:25-4:30 on Tuesday and 2:25-3:40 on Thursdays. Thursday nights I take my one course for the semester (4:30-7:10) and the rest of the time is spent doing other things: grading papers, doing my own work, working on Estella, and attempting a social life (although, I've been unusually hermitty this semester). I often get to change things up--have my students do work online instead of meeting in person, spending office hours in the Writing Center instead of hole up alone, doing whatever I want in the times in between. That's why I chose my profession: freedom.
But, amidst all the routinelessness, I still cleave to routine. The tiny routines, the ones that hang on day after day, year after year. The little anal retentive Andinesses that can't be gotten rid of. For example, I have a computer routine. When I sit down at my computer (home or work) I begin with a routine of e-mail checking that I've had for years and that I just seem to keep adding to as I stack up more e-mail addresses. It goes something like this:
Hotmail e-mail used for people I know in real life and my school/work listservs
Yahoo #1 for online book group participants and other bookish peeps and blog comments
Yahoo #2 for various services like BookMooch and such
Gmail #1 for university students and my own writing projects (PopMatters, Bust)
Gmail #2, the Estella's Revenge account where we receive submissions and communicate with the writers, authors, publicists, etc.
Every day. Several times a day, I engage in this routine, and to deviate from it gets me all befuddled and makes me forget things.
So, to make this an interactive post, what are the routines you would love to get rid of and what are those that you can't dispense with?
And in the news: I found out today that I will receive the Distinguished Master's Student Award on April 20th. It's awarded to one M.A. student out of all the Master's programs in the College of Arts and Sciences and it comes with $1000!!!! Woot! I like money. Have I mentioned that?