I just wanted to dash this off really quick because I have 100 essays to grade before tomorrow and there’s an event on campus that I need to get to because there’s going to be free food at it? And I’m out of grocery store coupons? Which sucks? And I asked on Facebook, but all my other adjunct friends used theirs already? And I have a 16-hour drive home from Colorado to Oakland after the semester’s over, and I’m just too old at this point to do the whole trip in one day and have to start setting aside some of this month’s pay for the hotel room on the way? There’s this really great place on the outskirts of Mesquite, Nevada? Working toilets? Minimal bedbugs?
I make about 46 dollars per class session? And that’s leaving out all prep time and grading time and commute time, and does not account for time doing research or writing? Because the university that I teach at doesn’t care about that? But does have a new Starbucks? And I saw that the admins all got a raise? And I’ve never met an admin in my life? And all the emails that I get from these people seem to have nothing to do with me? And I delete them without reading them at all, but I’m sure that they do things that are super important? Because thinking critically only helps students so much and maybe not at all with social-media zombie-apocalypse survival quizzes? And it’s impossible to explain to an 18-year-old with three jobs why proper sentence construction might possibly aid them in the future? Especially when they have a baby in daycare and the baby’s throwing up so they have to leave early and take the baby to their mom’s house before going to work at the mall/gentleman’s club/big box store/fast food restaurant? And since I don’t eat at fast food places or go to big box stores because I don’t want to ingest unlabeled toxins in corporate food, I go to a grocery store that sells organic fruit, and that shit is really expensive? Like profoundly expensive when you make 46 dollars per 75-minute class session, and do everything outside the classroom—office hours, grading, ad hoc advising, weeping, screaming into pillows—gratis?
So, when you walk around my campus or pretty much any other campus in America with your high school child, staring at the crisp red brick and the autumn leaves lining the edges of pristine paths and are proud of your child (as you should be) for having the opportunity to be a part of higher education, please, please don’t consider the details of my life? Like that I steal toilet paper from my place of employment? That for dinner last night, I finished off a bag of trail mix? Instead, please assume that all the new buildings here, and the upgrades to existing buildings, and new parking garages and university center game room and pub and new rugby field translate to a profound uptick in intellectual betterment of your son and daughter? Buy into that agitprop? Believe that lie? Because in all likelihood it’s me or one of my friends who will be teaching your son or daughter? And we all have second jobs and no money at all and my “office” is a chair on wheels that sits in front of a long particleboard shelf that is shared with four other adjuncts? And then there’s another shelf along the opposite wall, and this houses four more “offices”? And if something bad happened like my car broke down or I needed to get teeth pulled from my face or buy someone a birthday present, it’s going to mean taking out a third credit card and then hoping that the zombie apocalypse does occur, because one benefit of such an apocalypse would seem to be that all debt is absolved?
I’d like to say more but I really have to run because the food at these things goes fast? Because there’s so many people here just like me? Right on the edge and ignoring our lives in order to be of service to others? And at the gatherings we eat quickly and fill the pockets of our coats, the ones that we hope will be warm enough to get us through winter?