Category Archives: process

Not A Process

I am still reading the book that is basically the equivalent of a female bildungsroman, and as the main character reflects on her early twenties, she recounts how she met a man at a bar in Manhattan, dated him for two weeks, and essentially spent the next six years pining for him. While I hope this is not what I have to look forward to for the next six years, I came to the same conclusion she had at the end of the chapter.

Yes, the man I can’t stop thinking about was(is) wonderful, fun, intelligent, attractive and special, but what made him even more so was that, if I think about it, he was the first man I had ever really dated. Until meeting him there was always a sense of a quest, every relationship had a goal, and end product to diligently work towards, meticulously guiding the entire process. And it did become a process.

But this was different. I was able to enjoy time with him and not run home afterwards to plan our wedding while coming up with names for our future children. Our times together weren’t stepping stones to anything else. This doesn’t mean these times weren’t precursors for more, more time, more everything, but also, more of the same. I wasn’t dating to get married. I wasn’t dating to have children. I was able to enjoy being with him for the sake of it, and it was unbelievably relaxing. Almost as if before then I didn’t even know such a thing could exist. You mean people do this?

Whenever I thought of us in the future, it was simply an extension of the here and now, a prolonging of what was without definite expectations, except that it would continue to be. Well, I was wrong on the latter, but the overall sense of easy continuity was liberating.

And now that I have had this wonderful revelation, I can return to my previously scheduled pining.


A Convoluted Process

I am beginning to think the doctoral program application process is more convoluted than the program itself will ever be.

Nothing they are asking is difficult, just so unbelievably annoying.

Every little step requires numerous forms that to me seem superfluous. I am sure they have their reasons, but I am not understanding them.

For example, a couple of the schools want my references to fill out a form summarizing their letters of recommendation. This reminds me of when I have students come to my office and say “I just got an email from your office, what does it say?” Um… why didn’t you just read the email? Similarly, why don’t they just read the letter?

These same schools have cover forms they want attached to my transcripts. As you can imagine, these cover forms summarize what is in my transcript. Just open the transcript! I work at a college, and part of my job requires evaluating transcripts from other institutions. I have seen thousands of them, and can look at a transcript and figure out what is going on within seconds. I am sure the admissions people at these other schools are just as capable. The forms themselves aren’t so cumbersome except that having them requires me to physically go back to each of my academic institutions and hand them to the registrar to enclose with my transcript.

I remember when my friends were going through this process years back, flying all across the country to procure transcripts in this fashion. I would ask them why they couldn’t just order them online or over the phone. Now I see.

Thankfully no cross country treks will be needed. And not all institutions have these requirements.

One school wants my CV. Um, I don’t have one. And I don’t mean I don’t physically have one made, but rather, I don’t have one. At first I thought they wanted my resume, but then realized they want my resume *and* a CV. While I have a pretty decent resume, in lieu of a CV I can just hand them a post-it note.

I understand the reasoning behind cover letters/letters of intent. That makes perfect sense. But a cover letter *of* my letter of intent? This goes with the whole “summary of the letters of recommendation” business. Why do you need a cover letter of my letter of intent? Just the instructions for such a thing should signal its redundancy.

Throw in a few extensive exams, writing samples, and full biographical information since birth and the application process has now taken more time and energy than a full college course.

Can’t I just barter and offer them my first born instead?

Change Can Be Good

I wanted a change. Every once in a while I buy a new shade of nail polish, or revamp the way I do my make up. But this time I wanted something bigger. Maybe not as drastic as about six years ago when, after having been a blond my whole life, I suddenly died my hair bright red, but somewhere in that neighborhood. I didn’t want to go back to blonde. I didn’t want any other color. And there is not a whole lot else I could do. For a few months I played around with the idea of cutting bangs, but really the upkeep on those would be far too difficult and I would probably end up with my hair looking unkempt. And I can’t have that. At one point I cut my hair really short. It was cute. But I was a lot younger. Meaning everything was cute back then. And by everything was cute back then, I mean I thought everything was cute back then. I would offer some pictures for debate, but I don’t think I have any. So, in making a short story long, on a whim I decided to get a perm. And I really do mean on a whim. I was sitting in my Theory class and this was my thought process:
So this one man said this about that… note note note
This other man countered it with this other stuff… note note note
This third man combined the other two theories, added an extra one for good measure and said this… note note note
I should get a perm
This fourth man is from an entirely different school of thought and he said this other stuff… note note note
Oh look it’s break time… I am going to call the salon and make an appointment. And I did. And then I got a perm.
I have never gotten a perm before, so I wasn’t sure what it entailed. I knew there were curlers involved, and some type of solution. Apparently I have a lot of hair, so they had to use two solutions. What I hadn’t anticipated was that the whole thing would take over three hours. I got to the salon a little after five, and they said the tips of my hair were damaged and I needed a trim. I acquiesced, and the man got his shears out. He performed something that looked like the trimming of a bonsai tree with red strands flying every which way, and five minutes later my hair was “fixed.”
Then the fun started. He got out what looked to be about a hundred of the smallest curlers I have ever seen. I mean these things looked like they came out of a Barbie salon play boutique. He then proceeded to spray stuff all over my hair which he said was water, except it burned every time it touched my skin. And from my experience with showers I am pretty sure water doesn’t do that. Then he wrapped my hair in little pieces of paper at the tips and began using all the itsy bitsy curlers. I swear he wrapped each one of my hairs individually onto a different curler, or at least that it what it looked like. And it took him almost two hours to do this so I have reason to believe I was correct in my assessment. Then he poured two bottles of solution all over my head, put a giant bag over my hair and put me in this large helmet heat process machine thing. Apparently the heat was supposed to activate the solution in my hair and produce the desired curls. Translation: more burning.
I was a total trooper, and sat through this process for forty five minutes. After which his assistant took me over to the sink and began yanking the many curlers out. It took her almost as long as it took him to put them in, and did I mention all the yanking involved? If not, let me tell you, there was a lot of yanking. Translation: burning pain. Several hours passed, the salon had already closed, and they were attempting to get the solutions out of my hair, with three people washing and scrubbing at me like the place was about to burn down. They didn’t speak English so I couldn’t understand what they were saying, but I have to admit, all the screaming and shouting was rather alarming. The dramatic arm gestures didn’t help alleviate my panic.
I asked if everything was okay, they all told me not to worry about it. When people say that is usually when I start to worry. A few minutes later they took me away from the sink, plopped me in front of the mirror and started massaging my hair. It was still wet, but they said they could not blow dry since more heat would damage my hair. As is I was in a hurry to get home, so I was perfectly happy leaving with wet hair, especially since it was still unbearably hot outside. As I was paying, the main lady said “don’t brush your hair this week, it might fall out.” Oh…