They are fixing the roof of our place, again. Now I know that roofs occasionally need to be fixed because they occasionally leak, but this has been days and days of pounding right above my bed, punctuated only by a few days of quiet. Between the pounding and the dog barking like crazy it is has become a bit difficult to get some work done. I know that many people, none of them reading this blog, but many people would argue that I can not possibly do work in my fuzzy slippers, but the fact of the matter, and the bane of my existence, is that I do in fact do my best work in the aforementioned slippers.
Anyone who is in fact an educator (much of my family and my in-family) understand that the scant time spendt in the classroom is but a third of the work that actually goes into my work. Not only do I teach class, but someone must prep that class, and then grade the work that comes in. This means that my evenings and weekend are most often filled with Jeff and I slouched around the house with green pens and a plethora of paperclips and staples. This is what many people don’t understand, that in fact I must work at home, if I did not I would hardly get any work done. Add to this mix my online class, where all of my time is spent in fuzzy slippers and the work for my diss and you will find me a busy girl indeed. Yes I just had a week off for break, yes I have a month off in Dec/Jan. and yes there are weeks off before and after summer classes (usually). But often these breaks are filled with grading and syllabus preparation and trying to live any part of my life I could not squeeze in during the semester.
I know this, the people I know and love know this, so why do I actually feel guilty when people show up to fix my roof that I look like a lazy bum? Maybe this is my blue-collar guilt coming to the surface. I grew up with everyone I knew working very hard for a living, often in very physical jobs. I, on the other hand, dress up (or not ) for work. My job is mentally taxing, but not physically (unless I have to carry a lot of papers from the classroom to my car, and then my back hurts). And the only outward sign I have is a rather crusty and painful writer’s bump on the middle finger of my right hand. But when the revolution comes that will not help me. Actually when I think of this sad bump the picture in my mind is the scene from The Killing Fields when the Khmer Rouge checks the hands of the peasants to see if they have been working hard enough. I am actually terrified that someone will take me away when they see I have no calluses. And I am almost ashamed to mention the fact that for most of my life I observed this hard physical labor with distaste, I knew that I never wanted to do that, I wanted to do something else, something that would allow me some freedom, change often because I get bored, and let me do something to change the world. I believe that I found that job, but I carry with me a work ethic that does sometimes make me guilty that simply working all the time is not necessarily working hard. But this is my own problem to deal with, and right at this moment the pounding has stopped, so I will try to get in some work before it starts again.