Zelda's comment yesterday inspired a response that was just too embarrassingly long to put on the comments page. So, here's my gripe about Undergraduates in Libraries:

No, the Cage is most definitely not soundproof. It is more like an early model cubicle from Dilbert or Office Space, if they had been designed in the 1940s and plunked into a library as an afterthought. It is made of metal screen mesh on parts, wood on parts, is open to the floor about 6 inches and to the ceiling about a foot, and if you squat down you can see into the next Cage and poke at the next prisoner/lab rat. Its main virtue is that it locks, so you can leave your stuff spread out on your 2.5' desk when you go home at night and be relatively sure no enterprising undergraduate will mistake your dissertation research for priceless valuable old books and swipe it in attempt to make some quick cash on e-bay.

I'm with you, Zelda, about the noise in libraries. I am beyond happy that the undergrads have gone home for the summer. The bitch of it for us here is that Quiet Library is designated the "Graduate Library." There is an designated Undergraduate Library across the sidewalk, so this one is supposed to be for us. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you ask), over the last decade or so there has been an initiative to get more people into this library. It started with the opening of the stacks to undergrads, then they updated all of the computers and put in a coffee shop -- which is brilliant for us, but also a frantic dump during the semester. (Don't these children know how to throw away their own garbage??? And free USA-Today newspapers don't help the chaos situation any, let me tell you.) All of this means that now you will encounter pizza dinners being eaten next to the priceless books, loud cell phone conversations next to the Cage. My personal favorite change, however is the occasional appearance of condom wrappers in random books pulled off of the shelf by some unsuspecting graduate student attempting to do research. Ew. And yes, you have broken my ingenious code, I was that unsuspecting graduate student. (Spousal Unit's comment that evening when I relayed the horrifying story, looking for a little confirmation about how gross it was and how traumatized I was by the experience? "Well, at least it wasn't the condom itself.")

I'm all for democratizing education. I'm all for public spaces and sharing information and kum ba ya and all of that touchy feely stuff that means that more people will read more books, but I draw the line at pepperoni and condoms.

{To give the library credit where it is due, they too noticed that allowing the undergraduates into the stacks has produced a dramatic increase in the number of damaged books and has resulted in a serious pest issue in the library. And maybe someone else had a condom encounter. So, this past semester they hired patrollers to go around the library and bust people who were eating. Sort of a modern-day spinster librarian whispering "Sh!" I think this may have cut down on the pizza deliveries to the actual library, and I did see far fewer McDonalds' sacks in the trash lately. I almost applied for the job I thought it would be so much fun to go around and bust people and then give them a little lecture about how evil it is to eat in the library and how they should never do it ever, but it involved staying late at night and I'd rather lecture Spousal Unit anyway.)

Thanks, Zelda, for inspiring that little rant. It's been simmering for quite a while.

Progress yesterday: I moved the four piles around a bit.

Ok, I'm exaggerating. But, I didn't get much writing done. Just paper pushing, really. I did come up with a way to organize the chapter late last night at home in bed, and sorted through some sources to decide what I'm going to use. The organization is critical because I've been agonizing over this for two days now, trying to figure out how to take set of information A that is organized into square peg organizational format and fit it into theoretical framework B that is a round hole.
I think I may have come up with something that will work. We'll see.

And, today, I am missing a self-imposed deadline. I'm about 2-3 days behind where I'd like to be. I told my advisor I'd have a chapter to him today. So, I'm a little humiliated. (It's OK, Suz, you don't have to reassure me about it, these things happen and I'm really ok.) And frankly, while I'm on the subject of advisors, I'm a little miffed because he never responded to my email where I outlined in great detail what my completion schedule will be (see earlier post if you wanna know what it is.) Of course, my paranoid self interprets his response for him, since he didn’t offer one to me. It looks something like this: Advisor looks at the schedule I had developed and goes, "HA!" and then commences with the evil "Mwa Ha Ha Ha," which of course means that he thinks I can't do it in that time frame. And, now look at me, I'm not doing it in that time frame. I'm a little bummed about this. AND, to top it all off, I have to send an email of shame -- You know the one, I'm sure. It goes like this. "HI, remember me? And, remember that time I said I'd have that thing to you by today? Yeah, well, it isn't happening today." I hate having to do those, and I've done far too many with this guy lately. But, I am at where I'm at, and not much can change it. Unless anybody out there has a time machine and is willing to let me borrow it for a smidge? {GRR- Very Big Bells are now playing You Are My Sunshine. No, Zelda, the Cage is definitely NOT soundproof!!}

So today, I'd like to get through the first 2 sections of the new organizational schema, and that would get me back to writing.

Well, I'm off to send my email. Great weekend to you all!


At 1:12 PM Overread said...

Again, I feel for you. I'm sending a virtually identical email today, myself. Can I just cut and paste from yours?
As for the library issue, your Spousal Unit is more right that you know. some unfortunate stack browsers have found what was once inside that little condom wrapper.


At 2:42 PM Anonymous said...

You just keep it up, girl. I love reading your daily account and am thinking of you. It's definitely helping me to keep going with my independent study projects this summer. It's also helpful that you are telling not just the triumphs, but your struggles as well. They are real, and I can relate to them, which, while I don't wish them on you, seem to be a part of life (at least my life anyway!). Since they don't seem to go away, it's helpful to know that others, whose work I respect immensely, are moving through, slogging through, one step at a time toward the finish line!! (That's how I feel - slog, slog). Tons of respect fo' you! And you just tell that professor where you're at, wherever it is. He should BE so lucky to work with you.


At 2:04 PM Stewgad said...

Overread- How'd your email of shame go? And, ew. So sorry you were the worst case scenario on that whole condom-in-book thing.

R. - Thanks for the lovely encouragement. I rode that wave from you for quite a while yesterday.

At 5:35 PM puck freek said...

used condoms? in the stacks? and not a mention of the worst; accidentlly happening upon a libidinous duo in mid coitus?


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