Ancrene Wiseass

A would-be medievalist holds forth on academia, teaching, gender politics, blogging, pop culture, critters, and whatever else comes her way.

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Location: United States

Yes, this really is yet another blog by a disillusioned grad student. I sympathize, but that's just the way it has to be. For hints as to what my bizarre alias means, click here and here and, if needed, here and here. To get a sense of what I'm up to, feel free to check out the sections called "Toward a Wiseass Creed" and "Showings: Some Introductory Wiseassery" in my main blog's left-hand sidebar. Please be aware that spamming, harassing, or otherwise obnoxious comments will be deleted and traced.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Brief thoughts on MLA

I'm deeply pleased not to be there, myself: my impressions weren't all that favorable the one time I went, and it's nice to be here with the folks, instead. But I wish the best of luck to those of you who're there--especially the interviewees. I hope it all goes well, that everyone is lovely to you, and that the room service is marvelous.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Travel update

By the way, for those who are wondering: I did make it safely to Old Home Sod, at last. In fact, my buddy Cheryl gave me a first-class seat for the first leg of the trip home. Niiiice.

A friendly note to the nation's retailers

Please, for the love of God, STOP offering things at massively reduced prices. I know there's a panic over people not having spent as much as usual for the holidays, but consistently seeing things for something like 90% off is killing me! I'm a grad student: this means that I have little money, which means I have a very hard time passing up bargains.

I beg for your mercy. Seriously, raise the prices back to normal levels so I can maintain my awareness that I actually can't afford to buy your stuff.

With thanks,
A. Wiseass

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Most Wonderful Time . . .

I was supposed to fly to Old Home Sod two nights ago, but it became very clear on the day of that it wasn't going to happen. Not only am I still recovering from the Month of Ick, and not only was I considerably worse off two days ago, but being mid-renovation on my bedroom meant I could not find a damn thing--including my wallet. I gave up and paid an insane amount of money (about $300) to change the ticket to tonight's flight.

Well, it rained in Big City today, so the hive mind shattered into tiny little pieces. Reporters on the local news were pointing at puddles in disbelief. People were running around with garbage bags on their heads. There were accidents everywhere, because folks here seem to think they can keep driving like cabbies on speed when the roads are wet.

Also, holiday traffic + rain in Big City = Bad News. Poor Boy Roomie may never offer to drive me to the airport again: we sat in traffic for more than an hour.

Once I got to the airport, I stood in a long check-in line, only to be told that my ticket required "special handling" and sent to another long line. That wasn't the right one, either, so they sent me to yet another. By the time I got to the end of that one, my flight had closed. Maybe that's what "special handling" means?

Instead of saying she was sorry or trying to help me find a solution, the woman who gave me the bad news actually started scolding me: "You're supposed to check in at least 45 minutes before your flight leaves!" I gave her the stank eye and said: "Look, I left my house more than 2 hours ago; please just don't start in on me." "I'm very sorry for your trouble, m'am," she said, in a way that made it perfectly clear that she actually didn't give a shit, before turning her back on me and walking off.

Thinking that I was being clever and avoiding further wait times, I went to the pay phone and called in to the reservation center. No dice: they wanted to charge me $500 to fly me out at 11pm tomorrow night. By this time, I confess, I was bawling.

Once I could control my tear ducts again, I approached a rather friendlier-looking woman at the entrance to a line I hadn't tried yet. She told me to go wait in a fifth line to talk to somebody on a direct-dial phone. So then, I stood in line with a bunch of extremely pissed-off people for about an hour, with what seemed like about 150 people smashing into me because they were stampeding blindly through our line on the way to the security gates.

Finally, I noticed that one of the coveted black phones was available. I pounced. A woman named Cheryl answered. "Hi, Cheryl," I said. "I bet you've been talking to a lot of unhappy people tonight." "Yeah, it's not fun," Cheryl said. "What are they doing over there? Are they just telling everybody to call us?" "Yeah," I said, "after sending us to the wrong lines repeatedly, that's pretty much what they're doing. It rained here today, and everybody went insane." "Ah," Cheryl said.

Cheryl then worked her magic, called me "hon" a number of times, and got me a flight out late tomorrow morning. I thanked Cheryl and told her to have a happy holiday.

Then, after wandering through three terminals with all my luggage, looking in vain for a working ATM, I got a ride home with a cranky Russian guy who took me past a bank on the way home. He brightened up a little when I gave him a hefty tip, even though he still didn't help me carry my bags to the gate.

Ah, what the hell: it's the holidays.