9.27.2010

Kafka-esque

Has anyone else read The Castle by Kafka? It was an unfinished novel, which, if you've read it,  you know how ironic and true the incompleteness is in itself.  There was no way to end that book.  That was the whole point, the endless frustration of modern life and bureaucracy, the meaninglessness of ambition which will never be fulfilled. . . how the pointless striving can steal the life that you already have.  Because, if all you care about is your frustrated and ultimately meaningless goal, wanting what you don't have, then you lose the joy you could have today with the gifts you do have.  Existentialism in it's naked brutality.  And truth. 

I am very frustrated today with the maze of complications in life. I'm having problems with HR at my new college, so, I have not been paid and will not get paid for some time. It's a comedy of errors. I told my department chair what was happening and he said it was Kafka-esque. I agree.

HR needs proof of my degree to officially hire me. I never got my Masters diploma because they mailed it to the wrong address. I have tried several times over the years to get my diploma, but they insist I pay for it because it's a duplicate. Out of principle and poverty I refuse to pay for a piece of paper I already paid for with thousands of dollars of tuition. I tried again to get a copy, but they will not send it unless I pay them.

Alternatively, I can show my transcripts to HR, but they must be original. I had an original sitting on my desk for 7 months.  Some time this summer I put it away.  Which means, it is gone forever.  I looked in every place it should be and it's not there.  Now I have to pay for another original.  Again, because of  poverty and the fact that I should already have a copy in my possession, I refused to pay for it. Instead, I would keep looking for the one that should be here. Meanwhile, 2 weeks later, I am not getting paid.

Realizing I can not pay my rent on time again this month, I gave in. I made several phone calls and finally talked someone into sending me a transcript for free. I told him I wasn't getting paid until I got my transcripts and I couldn't pay for my transcripts because I wasn't getting paid and he said he'd send me a free one. It arrived today. Sigh, that's one hurdle.

I called my department to see if they got my timesheets because they are due on Mondays. Turns out, I filled them out incorrectly and need to go to the office to do them again. Since I also have to take HR my transcripts, I called them to make sure they'd be there too. (They don't do paperwork on Fridays, which I found out the hard way.) Until I take care of HR, I won't get paid anyway. The commute costs $10 so I don't want to make 2 trips, it can also take an hour each way.  Good thing I called, the paperwork lady wasn't there today. So there was no point in going in today. Sigh.

I am extremely grateful to have my job. I don't mind the change in status. But the fact is, I don't even have shared office space or a key to the department office or a mailbox. I am on the bottom of the seniority pile when I used to be on the top.  And, as of yet, I don't have an email account and can't log in to the computer equipment.

So a student complained to the chair that he couldn't get in touch with me. Because I don't have a school email account and have not been able to get into the Blackboard website, because of my HR problems. I explained myself, but I'm already starting off badly.  I swore I wouldn't do that this time.

I am frustrated.

It is a maze of corridors and offices and paperwork similar to Kafka's luckless hero as he suffered to get into the castle. I am impressed by the stupidity of it all. I am impressed with my incapacity to adapt myself to the stupidity. I am trying to detach myself so I don't go into a screaming fit and pound my head against the wall.  Because none of this really matters.  Until it does.  Like, if I got evicted for paying my rent late again, or when I got fired for turning in my grades late, etc.

I walk in this maze. Amazed.

Maybe I should take up drinking. As long as you didn't get drunk, you could continue walking in the maze regardless of the the frustrations and maybe get somewhere. Or maybe not. There really isn't a 'somewhere' to get to, is there? Because there is always another hallway. And the Word of Wisdom.5


That was Kafka's --and the existentialists'--conclusion, if you could get them to admit there is a conclusion. Life is the maze. There is no arrival. There is no end save death. None of this silliness matters. The trick is to embrace the maze without giving up on your life. Enjoy the struggle but don't take it too seriously. 

Or, you can turn to drink or religion.


. . . to be continued

1 comment:

allcatsaregrey79 said...

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Thanks!
Jess in Vegas :)