Well after a long delay, I finally took possession of my new office in the Stalinist cellblock. It’s got a window with a splendid view of the neighboring Stalinist cellblock plus, to be fair, some kind of elegant coniferous tree that I couldn’t pretend to identify. It’s smaller than what I’m used to, but not unbearable. It is breathtakingly short of bookcases—who occupied this space, anyway, graphic artists? It does have a large blackboard which, for a guy who teaches “numbers for lawyers” is a nice touch—but my guess is that no student will ever find this place, or me in it, anyway.
There are actually some other human beings within earshot—some accounting clerks who say they are glad to be here because their old digs were in a windowless basement; one old colleague who says he drops in every so often to pick up his mail, which is usually someplace else. There’s a sign on an office door for an ex dean who, I suspect, will never show up here at all; probably just as well for him and me both. There’s a single restroom at the end of the hall. Somebody has pasted one of those “unisex” thingies on the door, but there is no lock, so somebody (same person?) has conjured a little “occupied/unoccupied” sign, together with a note on the inside reminding you please, please to remember to change the sign.
They said they’d move my stuff over here and they kept their promise—much more, I am dismayed to say, than I would have hoped or wished. So: among things that showed up here I find my two (2) familiar wastebaskets, two (2) chairs that I had stolen out of the faculty lounge at intervals of 5-10 years; one (1) antique TV set that I earnestly intended to abandon—and even a roller-cart full of books that I thought I had set out for the library giveaway shelf. Oh, and also about 20 boxes of “books”—all the ones I couldn’t bear to pitch, even though many of them I suspect I will never look at again, some of which will probably never see so much as the light of the day, except on their last ride to the dumpster.
I am happy to see revisit my collection of teaching hats—two faux tophats, one Sherlock Holmes, one horned Valkyrie model, one weird cutout of flaming antlers, one pullover sunhat form the band of Lester Lannin (he played the second Reagan inaugural—end of western civilization as we know it.
I say there is a window, but it’s not well positioned for gazing out of. So at the moment, I’m gazing at a blank wall; I wonder what it would cost to get a 5’x7’ photo of, say, the Piazza Navona or Machu Picchu to help me get through the very small amount of time I intend to spend in this place. Now, back to the coffee shop for some more serious study…