It all began with an attempt to respond to about a thousand emails in an expeditious fashion.
You see, I’ve been trying really hard not to do email on the weekends. Because, you know, the whole trying to have a meaningful personal life thing. (By the by, I met The Dude’s parents, and it was very nice indeed, and so that particular bridge is now crossed. That’s all I’m going to say about that, as I’m still processing, and as I have other things that are in the forefront of the analysis-prone part of my brain, so I’m not processing quickly. Suffice it to say, it’s all good for the moment.)
And then, because I was trying to respond to email expeditiously, I committed, totally accidentally, the one true sin of email: I hit “reply all” when I meant just to hit “reply.”
Now, you might be thinking, did Crazy write something outrageous? Did she insult somebody thinking the email conversation was private? Did she go off on a crazy rant? Did she tell a secret, or pass along gossip?
Nope. All I did was accidentally hit “reply all” when I wrote back to my chair, nominating myself for Important Committee. See, the members of the Important Committee are elected – except for the chair of that committee. The chair of the committee rotates alphabetically, and I’m due to be chair of it in a couple of years. But I thought to myself, “Self, it might be good if you got yourself elected so that maybe you would have some experience on Important Committee before you are the chair of it.” And when I wrote this fateful email, I wrote just that: “I nominate myself because I think it would be good if I’ve served on the committee before I chair it.”
I intended nothing passive-aggressive, and I said nothing outrageous. I just explained why I was nominating myself – with no ulterior motive other than that I feel like when you run for something you offer an explanation for why you’re running. And I thought that I was just replying to my chair.
Little did I know that this innocuous email, which yes, went to everybody in the department but said basically nothing, would light a spark that would turn into a full-on three-alarm fire.
Approximately 875 emails later (some to the department as a whole, some directly to me personally, some secretly forwarded correspondence, some BCC’ed), I do believe that it now looks like *I* am the person who has turned this into a Thing, and that I did so on purpose for some nefarious reason. (Remember: just last April a group of my colleagues decided they needed to get together to start a secret “group” – don’t call them a committee! they aren’t a committee! Even if they are doing things committees do and the department administration gave them the go-ahead to do these things! – to wrest all of the gobs of power I have from my fascist hands… even though I’d already quit the [incredibly time-consuming and mostly unrewarding] service position that made me their target.)
On the whole, I’m fairly philosophical about this situation. First, I am not the person (people) who has pressed this into a Full-On Thing, and I had no intention for it to become a Full-On Thing. And I am confident it will blow over, as all Crazy Things That Happen in April, the Cruelest Month in Higher Education, ultimately do. (Seriously: So. Much. Bullshit. comes to pass in April. I can’t think of a single April in the past 9 years in which something fucked up has not come to pass in my department.)
But I am annoyed by the fact that I appear to have started it. (I mean, I kind of did start it, but without any knowledge that I was starting it! I don’t deserve the blame! Yes, my email was the first shot, but it was friendly fire! It wasn’t on purpose!) And I am annoyed that subsequent emails to the whole department (from my chair) seem to insinuate that this is My Issue, when it’s not really, even though the people who have turned this into An Issue are totally right!
Here’s the thing: doesn’t everybody realize that I am doing everything in my power to be affable and to check the fuck out? That I am not interested in the political maneuvering for power within my department? That I just don’t care about that right now? And, in fact, I never really have? I mean, sure, I like to accomplish things, but I don’t care about being in power! Caring about that seems stupid to me! Maybe I need to announce to the department at the beginning of our meeting in 10 days’ time that I am too busy being in love to start shit about the department handbook on purpose? (My department would probably burst into a round of fucking applause if I did, but no, I’m not doing that, in spite of the advantages that it would afford me.)
I’m also annoyed, conversely, by the fact that I’m sure if I’d intended to start something, people probably would have just blown it off.
But, so, whatever. Let this be a lesson to us all. Be vigilant about the “reply all” thing. It’s a motherfucker.