Cafe Hitch-hike


That is all one person can do

Well, oh well. As if we don't have enough unhappy news floating in the air. It's like we were hoping for a reprieve after the elections, but that wasn't about to happen.

I read an outlook for my profession. It's just a matter of time where students don't write anymore (or do the work that results in learning) but get artificial intelligence or machine learning to do it all for them. They'll be subject to fake news and also deepfakes. The outlook said students needed to be educated on algorithms. Like how they're coded or how the operate? The report was a dystopian, RollerBall-like thing to read so early in the morning.

(Dystopia, what a word. Donnie didn't know its meaning until I told him. I'm not laughing that he didn't know. He commented, "so that's the word that describes this!")

The legislature is pushing some adversarial bills that target the profession. Stop offering pensions to new hires, record instructors' lectures without their knowledge or consent, and make our political views publicly known for student review (that is, they can use it to consider whether or not to take a course). I'm not fucking kidding. It's not just here but all over. The conservatives bastardized the teaching profession, and now they're making more bold strides against higher ed so that we're in a near-identical position.

It reminds me that geoscientist conferences always have at least one sad keynote speaker who discusses the furthering extent of climate change, reef damage, threatened water sources, and mass animal extinctions. Now it makes me think: we deserved a pandemic, didn't we?

Maybe this is what I get for not heeding the coven's guidance. A couple of the gals said we were in for some very contentious lunar energies with last night's new moon. They said people everywhere were itching for fights or would be very irritable.

They weren't kidding. At Huck's weekly faculty meeting, they discussed a point made by Asian students: they felt BLM was getting all of the attention. Sometimes he and I get flippant about these things, and it's kind of awful of us. These were the same damn issues we faced when in our teens (we're a year apart), and these discussions really haven't gotten far. I think we calloused ourselves from feeling too much concern because we were let down when we were younger, and we don't feel much power to do much now.

"Considering the Asian attacks are happening at the same times as the Minneapolis trial and other events, the students are probably feeling very raw," I replied. I wanted to add, 'they want someone to guide them and help them work these things through,' but I couldn't. Even if we try, we by ourselves can't bring the sweeping justice they want. Even if we band with others, activist groups are so rife with either in-fighting or community indifference that you wonder why you even bothered. Even if we say something, we often end up offending them by unintentionally (or ignorantly) saying the wrong thing. The students remain angered at injustice, and then get more pissed at us teachers and educators.

Take out injustice out of the equation and motivate them to keep going towards their degree. I'd love to assure them they'll have good careers, but I tell them a degree gives them more options. I do assert that knowledge is power and that it's better to be informed they cannot be controlled, but that knowledge also shows them how sorry the state of things really are. The students of color are so full of life and aspiration, but I think about the combat I've experienced at different points in my professional career (and how it left some very real wounds); I was one of them, and they eventually be in my spot. In some ways, I guess getting inches or feet ahead in life was much better than staying still or sliding backwards, but at what price? We just keep letting down every generation.

My boss's elderly mother died the other day, and passed quickly. The mother had been doing poorly this past year, and went downhill quickly after a brief stay in a rehabilitative home. The boss had to figure out a way to remove the mother and continue care that would be covered by Medicare (and some of you with national health systems are probably shuttering at this). If this fucking year's news and issues weren't constant battery, then thinking about all the people who died this year will do it instead.

I was surprised how comforting it was to end such awful news by making spaghetti with Copperas's simple sauce. I made meatballs, and Puppy Dog got one.

I cleaned up the kitchen and did laundry. Taxes will be done tomorrow, and the appliances I ordered will finally be here after 3 months.

We're supposed to start reporting back to the building in waves in mid-July. We will see. I'd like to think we will be, but we thought we'd only be working remotely for 2 months last year. Maybe we will go back to the building even with the same number of cases or more (and we are next to a hotspot).

It's just that we want so badly for all of this to end, but what if it doesn't? I feel like one of Huck's students, the ones of color and everyone else! I just want a grown up to tell us it's going to be all right and that people are doing the right thing to fix this. It's just that I've also seen plenty of instances in life where that didn't happen at all, and when as a kid a grown-up told me it would be all right (and it wasn't).

I'm sorry, I want to say. I wish we could had done better for you. That is all one person can do.

downwind | upstream