Dissertation Hell: Fear, Panic, Rinse, Repeat.
I know I’ve already written several entries comparing the adviser/advisee relationship to that of a 18th/19th century woman with no legal rights and her MIA overlord/absentee fiance. But since I still feel the need to complain as a way to cope with my panic and fear, I have come up with a new, maybe more fitting scenario to explain the perilous dynamics of this type of relationship!
scene: Bureaucratic office in Dontgiveafuckistan. Interior is dim, as only a few photons of light stream though the dust and corpses of dead flies stuck to the communist issue blinds. Undead flies explore overflowing ashtrays. Empty coffee cups and old newspapers are strewn around for artistic effect. It is 500 degrees but air conditioning is out of the question, as it is an untrustworthy example of western excess.
Government Employee: lets phone ring for a few minutes, then realizing nobody else is around, picks up phone. Yeah?
Me: checks watch. Good morning, sir. How are you?
GE: lights up cigarette, inhales deeply and leans back in chair. What do you want?
Me: feels self-esteem draining out of body through pesky leak in soles of feet. Um I was just calling to see how you were doing. And to see if you got that last draft I sent you a few months ago? I know internet access has been a bit spotty what with the riots and all, so I just wanted to check and see how things were going.
GE: The draft? Can you refresh my memory? I’m so busy that I can’t recall exactly what you are talking about. doodles hangman’s noose on corner of old newspaper.
Me: The draft of my thesis? Last time we talked we discussed a timeline and you said it would be ready to submit soon. And that you’d get back to me with some comments.
GE: Hm…I’d help you but this doesn’t sound familiar. Was it before the uprising or after?
Me: After the uprising but before the General was ousted. Right after Christmas.
GE: Oh right, right, right… Let me just check my outbox, hang on… rummages in old filing cabinet. Finds huge folder marked UofL thesis, which contains no comments as it has been sitting there for years unread. GE launches the brick of papers into a metal wastepaper basket in corner of room
a loud metal clang can be heard over the phone
Me: Sir? Sir? Are you ok? Have they started the artillery fire again?
GE: Oh no, just knocked over my machete. Don’t worry, I’m fine. I can’t seem to find your papers though…give me a few days and I’ll get back to you.
Elderly janitor shuffles in and, with the speed and strength of a dying turtle, lifts and empties the metal wastepaper basket containing UofL’s livelihood. GE covers mouthpiece of phone and asks janitor to run out and purchase cigarettes and mustache wax.
Me: Thank you so much! Hope I didn’t disturb you with my phone call!
GE: Oh it’s no trouble. I’ll be in touch. puts down phone.