Thursday, August 25, 2016

I'm Annie From Abelard and I Made Friends, Apparently

I moved your stuff.
Now help me with my quadratics.
I'm not the most... emotionally astute person. Some doctors have said I have Asperger's, some have said I don't. Neither here nor there. Bottom line is that I generally don't make a ton of friends where I go. I didn't really have any until I got to high school, at which point I had a resounding two. Then one in college. And a glance at my RMP reviews show that "Cold/chilly" and "lack of understanding" are frequent descriptors my students use for me, unfortunately. But I can now say, with no small degree of enthusiasm, that my fellow professors genuinely like me.

I'm moving across the building to a refurbished office, and I'd been griping a little bit about having to move my stuff (which I would have had to do tomorrow). Just more or less saying that I'm not looking forward to it. A lot of educational paraphernalia (i.e. crap) tends to coalesce around me and I can't really part with any of it so moving shop is always a huge hassle. But I came in today to find my workspace in my department office completely barren and wiped clean. I start freaking out, terrified that maintenance had thrown it out or that everything had been a big joke and I was fired or something. Then I see a note on my chair.

"I wonder where all your stuff could be? Hmmm... I do wonder, indeed. If you could wave your magic wand and have it appear someplace, where would that be?

~(My friend/mentor's first name)"

Relief flooded over me and I calmed down. I wasn't fired. My stuff was somewhere. It occurred to me to check my new office, assuming that my mentor had moved it as a nice gesture. When I arrived, I found that not only had my things been moved, but my computer and phone had been set up, my supplies were neatly organized on my desk, and my "crap" had been put into legal boxes on the side of the room in a slightly more organized fashion than it had been previously. Seemingly out of the ether (in this case, nearby cubicles), my entire department coalesced and shouted things (I think they couldn't decide on "surprise" or "congratulations"). They had some party platters of cheese and crackers and sparkling apple juice.

The fact that they threw me a little morning party was really, really nice. And I was particularly flattered that they helped me get set up in my new office because I had been sweating the idea that they resented me leaving or that they wanted the position themselves. So this gave me some closure as a sort of blessing from them. Upon further inspection I saw that they had put up a sort of billboard with pictures of each of them making funny faces and taken the liberty of taping a list of their names with their extensions next to my phone. For someone who assumes that any time I reach out to someone, it's unwelcome, this clear message saying "keep in touch" was something else.

Maybe this isn't so bad after all.


PS from the RGM: I'm waiting for someone to tell me that blackboard could not possibly be showing quadratics...10, 9, 8, .....


  1. Cool! Sounds like you've found your people. Sometimes it takes a while, but it's great when it happens.

  2. That's is seriously sweet. Congratulations. :)

  3. What a lovely gift from your colleagues! This made my day.

  4. Aw, that's sweet. I'm not on the spectrum, but I'm a serious introvert who tries not to "bother" people, so I sympathize. It's nice that they went out of the way to make sure you know you're accepted and totally not a bother. :)

  5. Thank you, Annie. What a nice shot of un-misery for the start of the school year!