Blogger JaneB writes today about the Trivial Dismals (great name for a rock band?) while Bardiac is wrapped up in Dismay--yes, it is that time of the semester when everything's coming up bleakness. Yesterday I had lunch with a colleague who kept urging the rest of us to "say something positive!" I had to think pretty hard to come up with this: I paid off my husband's van! But I still have two more payments on the transmission--and this morning when I checked in with online banking, I noticed that it still shows a 92-cent balance on the van loan. So let's celebrate the fact that I now own most of a van, minus 92 cents and a chunk of transmission!
Many of the things that make me feel dismal are indeed pretty trivial: driving home in the dark, difficulty in planning a class field trip, a spousal contretemps over the best place to plug in a computer--and don't forget the 92 cents I still owe on that van. Such trials! Who has suffered as I suffer?
But one reason I rail so against the trivial dismals is that there's so little I can do about the non-trivial ones. I look at course listings and want to weep over enrollment numbers, but fixing that problem is way outside my pay grade. I've done my meager part to fight a particularly painful element of the coming increase in our health insurance costs and I just can't stand to keep banging my head against that wall. Faculty cuts, budget cuts, leadership problems--we're doing our best here, but it's really difficult living in limbo in the midst of problems we're powerless to solve.
So I complain about those 92 cents. Such injustice! The whole point of paying the van off early was so that we'll have someplace to live in case we go bankrupt and lose the house, and now a measly 92 cents stands in the way! Excuse me while I stomp across the room and slam some doors.