Thursday, September 22, 2016

September 22, 2016

Autumn. I do not want to think of it.

Howling of sirens. Somebody has trouble already at this hour of the morning.

The sewer men opened my driveway and installed a little structure way down there, covered it up with dirt, if not yet with pavement. They were actually as unobtrusive as you can be in an enterprise involving jack hammers and bulldozers. I surveyed the hole for a minute, and was disappointed that it was pretty much red clay all the way down, no strata, no fossils, one astonished root.

Niggardly film of rain a few days back, but I must go back to nightly watering. I think I’ve lost half of what I planted this year, between the maniac gardeners and the drought that assailed everything before it had time to root.
Wells Fargo in trouble for opening accounts that customers didn’t authorize. Years ago I myself got a call from the banker who’d helped us through dad’s crises, and she asked if she could open a savings account with my money, in my name, for if she did she’d get a bonus. I said sure. The account lasted five days, and then she reverted it to what it was before. What if they had all asked? What if they said, “If you let me do this, it will not affect you, and I can have a little extra”? How many would have turned them down? My dad did, but he was himself. 

Wednesday ended badly. Unspecifically ill, or rather miraculously run-down, I stayed home and spent the evening reading Virginia Woolf.

TIAA-CREF lady here yesterday to help me through plans for retirement. It’s a lot of bother, though not as much bother as it might be. She admired my garden. It occurred to me that David should have power of attorney, being both young enough certainly to survive me, and on my side.

Defiant reaction from my student at the suggestion that she should drop my course. She threatened to tell all sorts of authorities, not knowing that they had already been informed through the elaborate, and very much student-favoring, process. Her determination to “do better” is sad, because she cannot; the problem was never application, which she has, but native competence, which she does not have. In a normal lecture-style class this could be accommodated, but in a workshop her every anxious and wide-of-the-mark contribution veers everyone off course. She should not have been admitted, but I can’t blame admissions because admittance from a community college is–alas!–automatic. I try to put myself in her place. She is used to fighting for herself, and that is admirable, but it has also gotten her to a place well beyond her abilities, maybe past the point where sheer defiance can avail. K said she probably got through community college with a series of “accommodations.” Here is where that faults of that policy begin to tell. I can see physical accommodations for bright, disabled students, but sometimes we are asked to allow compensation for the lack of intellectual ability. Should that be part of a university’s mission? Should a diploma not be a kind of seal of guarantee, saying “This Person Can Do the Work”? I must say that when I’ve been handed a note for special accommodations from a student, they have never actually needed them, and did just fine. In this case, there was no letter for accommodation. She is trying to bull through on her own. What is the right thing? Luckily, many are in on the decision.  She may hate me now and want on her own to put distance between us.

Sunnyspot says ticket sales for The Great Comet are outstanding already. Fingers crossed.

Continued escalation on the part of the student. She wants me to be punished. She pretends to be ill and never to be “able to get over it.” Her parents are outraged and wonder what sort of institution they have committed their precious one to. She resents that I have “won” and wants some sort of punishment for me to even things out. She wasted our time in the class, and continues to waste it now that she is out. I allowed the possibility that this may be a message from the Universe, in which I was to divine comparison to my problems with the Boy. But for it to be comparable, the student would have had to be the best student in class, whom I resented because her writing was better than mine. But, to an onlooker, the situations may be comparable in the degree of possible redress. I can’t imagine who is going to listen seriously to her; certainly nobody listened seriously to me.

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