For all the annoyances, disappointments, frustrations, and outrages from the tasks of my job, once I'm gone, I will miss the work.
I have realized that I will miss one aspect in particular: that time before my eight am classes, from six until seven thirty. The building is mostly empty and quiet, and I am here alone.
That quiet time I am alone getting ready for class: reading these texts—old chestnuts on and new additions to the syllabi—so interesting, so worthy, so stimulating, and then revising, revamping, rethinking last year’s lesson, to keep it fresh, relevant, current.
Before the first email of the day with reports of illness, car trouble, emotional turmoil, before the committee meetings, before addressing various tasks from newly created offices demanding my time, before the stack of ungraded essays guilts me into attention, before colleagues in the hall breathlessly chin-wagging about the provost, the dean, the vice president, etc. I do work I love.