As I plunge headlong into a new adventure--taking up the reins of power in my new position as department chair--I find myself asking questions I never dreamed of in my prior existence as a peon: "Where are all my pens? And who emptied this drawer? And hey, where is my faculty directory? I need to make some calls!"
Yes, I'm still in the process of moving, but the juggernaut of progress is stuck in neutral right now while myriad worker bees apply paint to the walls and carpet to the floors of the chair's office. Since I'm busy teaching, my daughter has been cleaning out my desk and packing up my books in preparation for the big move, which I appreciate very much except for the fact that now I don't know where my pens are, or my phone book, or any number of other things I haven't thought of yet, and even if I knew I couldn't get to them because my desk is surrounded by boxes. So far, being chair means not having a place to sit.
It also means answering a lot of questions, or actually the same questions over and over: "Why does my son have to take developmental English? He's a good writer! He just doesn't test well!" I have already developed a regular schtick for this one, a well-formed paragraph that pours fluidly out of my mouth as if I've been saying it all my life: "College writing is different from high school writing blah blah blah experience suggests that students with blah scores on the blah blah may required extra blah in order to succeed in blah...."
But the really annoying thing about being chair is that when I accomplish something really interesting, when I tackle a problem and bring it to its knees in submission, I can't talk about it. Yesterday and today, for instance, I worked diligently to find a creative solution to a pressing issue, but I can't write about it without violating people's privacy, so I have to keep it to myself. Can't even put it on my vita. You'll just have to take my word for it: today I rocked. I'd sign my name to that if I could find a pen.