Nothing good came out of the mailbox
Like everyone else after Saturday night, I am starting a Journal. Helen suggested it and I can appreciate the value of one for future historians and research professionals in Social History. Hell, maybe it will provide the basis of someone's thesis some day. So here is how and what I remember most.
I remember thinking out loud, "I was supposed to get Tenure, damn it. Three books in addition to my PH.D thesis, lectures around the country, and a shot at the Women's Studies chair at the University of Chicago, and the damn Lottery notice came. How the hell can that happen?"
It is one hell of a Monday morning when you get this notice. The first thing you do is get angry. Then you deny it. And Denial means you look up your name against the posted list with the Population Control board. Not good. There I was. All the personal information including, SSID, and my personal contact information of record.
Well, so much for anger and denial. Now I can look at bargaining. I reach out to the Dean of Woman's programs and her secretary tells me I can't possibly get on her calendar for a week.
"Listen. I don't have a week. I just got my selection notice today and I want to ask what we can do about this."
"Oh. Should I tell her where you are going to be processed? And do you need help with your student and lecture reassignments?"
I am underwhelmed with her sympathy. "Not really. What I was looking for was something in the line of legal support"
"I'm not sure that we can be of help there. The chancellor's granddaughter was processed last week, and my own niece was last month. And there wasn't anything we were able to do there."
"But I am a tenured professor"
"Not yet. And there are a lot of women for Women's Studies. But I will put you on her next available calendar appointment. Tuesday of next week." She said as she ended the connection.
Ok. E-Mail. And I get a reply that "the dean is unavailable at this time, due to a heavy workload regarding contribution solicitation. We will reply to you no later then next Thursday.
Now, You ask, How accurate is this memory? Pretty damn accurate. It rolled around in my head all week while I was getting ready to go to H&S.
I don't remember all of the rest of the week, after that. I do remember that it started bad and got worse. I tried to reach my parents, but they were tied up at a conference on Historical preservation. My sister was in Kenya working with the Africans on a type 3 HIV virus treatments, chasing the latest bug out of the Dark Continent. So while she is there working with Tribal cannibals, I am trying to stay out of the pot here with legal cannibals. Not a good state of affairs.
No one in the upper academic strata enjoys the realization that they are no better or worse then anyone else. In academia you get used to being cloistered. You have an increased sense of self worth. None of which is good for preparation for the real world when you run into it.
When I called the Dean of Law studies, she was less hopeful. "Get your affairs in order. We don't have leverage any more. You aren't holding large critical classes like engineering, or language, or history. So you are not considered vital to be exempt. Not even by the University".
Damn, I should have gone to more faculty parties.
And of all worst things, to be sent to H&S. Those people were a horror story last year and I don't think anything has changed.
So, after all things are exhausted, I call to H&S and ask what I need to bring or do or prepare. And I am told "no meals after midnight, no clothing that you need returned to next of kin leave all valuables home".
So that was my introduction.
Friday Morning: Sorry we can't help you here.
So I show up at H&S early in the morning. I walk across a parking lot and through a guard gate and a one-way spinning door into a small dingy reception room. It is dark, dirty and dingy. I give the guard my notification letter and he says "go over there and sit down. We'll get to you as quick as we can".
So I went and found a seat on dirty grimy chair, and looked around. There are about thirty other women, all ages and shapes sitting around and we are all trying to keep our eyes away from the windows going back into the slaughter house. I see a table next to a door with a large box and a garbage can next to it in front of a table marked "Grading and Stripping". A short balding man came out of a office door and walked over to the entry guard and asked him how many had shown up already. They got into a discussion that I couldn't hear and The balding guy shook his head two times and said "I don't care. We don't have capacity and we are going to have to ship these sows out. Pick forty and send them to Findley."
The entry guy (I found out later his name was Tim) shook his head and looked around. He said then "When I call out your name, come over here"
I was called after the first ten or so and walked over. Then Tim says to us" We have an issue in processing, so we are going to ship you to another processor plant. The good news is none of you are eligible to be spitted, because they don't have one. The bad news is all they do there is Dog Food, so you won't end up in a meat case. Any of you bothered by that?"
None of us were.
So they unlock a barred door and escort us out to a bus where we are told to get in and sit down. We are then driven over to another industrial building in another part of town.
This place was not as shabby and run down as H&S. And there were no bars or concertina wire fences surrounding the place. It looked like a business front for a warehouse. We were herded off the bus and over to a regular glass door. That opened automatically and we walked into a room that was a lot different.
This place was clean. Walls painted, and a lot of chairs around the edges. There was one woman and a single man sitting at a pair of desks and nothing else. Our driver (Tim) walked over to the desks and gave our documents to the man sitting at the desk and said that Marty would be calling later. I hear a commotion for a moment between the man and the woman sitting at the desk next to him, and suddenly she picked up her purse and walked away and through a door marked private. (I found out later that David had just fired his last female employee.)
Our driver, in the mean time, had disappeared. Leaving us in another buiding where I did not know what was coming next.
Shortly, a woman comes out of a door marked "Employees" and walks over to the man at the desk and bends over to talk with him. I am shocked because she is attractive, a little older then me, and stark naked. After a short conversation, she starts to gather things up and stops to talk to a tall brunette that apparently she knows.
Shortly the naked woman is calling names and helping the women she has named to gather their things up and the group goes down a hallway with a sign over the door marked "Intake to medical"
I am glad someone knows someone here, because I have never felt so alone in my life. So, I puff up my courage and walk over to the woman that had been in conversation with the naked lady, and introduce myself. And that is how I met Elizabeth Carter.
Our first conversation was pretty stilted and I was in angst. Here I was, this academic talking to this tall and very professional woman who obviously knew someone here and maybe could tell me something about what was going on. And she was as upset as I was. She had known the owners socially for several years, and she was supposed to be given a "Quick Shot" termination. Which was something I had never heard of. And which, come to think of it, I had not even thought to ask about. My god, these people are going to kill me and I have no idea of how.
So after a few minutes the man at the desk asks if we can be patient, he will get some chairs out here for all of us to all sit down and he will be around to talk with us individually.
After a few moments, he and the naked woman (Margaret, I found out) were running around setting chairs out and some were near a few tables. A few moments later a man came up from the back with a long table and set it up along one wall, and another came in with water, and sodas and some other small snacks and they set them up along a end wall.
"Well" Elizabeth said to me" At least this is better then we got at H&S." And I had to admit it was.
A shot time later the man (I learned his name was David) came over and talked for a few moments with Elizabeth, and then with me, and circulated among the others getting us things and answering questions. And he was quietly assuring all of us that we didn't have any horrors of impalement, or any other obscene treatment ending in our deaths. And to please be patient, we would all be taken care of and he would make sure that no one had to suffer.
A few minutes later, another busload arrived from H&S and as the group came in, Elizabeth shouted out to a friend of hers that evidently she knew. And I met Carol.
Soon the three of us were sitting and talking, and trying to not look at the clock as time was passing.
My trip down the hall
I didn't remember much of what David had asked me when he came over to talk with us. He was pretty general, but polite enough. I fell into lecture mode with him for a few minutes and got the feeling he was being very polite.
A short time later, I noticed that another group of women had gone down the hallway to "Medical". My stomach flipped when I realized that they went down, and no one came back. Like I was going to do soon.
.... There is more of this story ...