Maybe it’s a Midwestern thing. Possibly it’s because of how I was raised. Probably I’m just neurotic. Often, I apologize and thank people for things that they had nothing to do with. I apologize for weather when we have guests. I thank the dentist who has just been paid handsomely for fixing my teeth. If someone “lets” me go at a four-way stop where I clearly already had right of way, I wave at them in gratitude.
Today I had to write my first ever letter of resignation. I’m not sure how I got out of the job I had for three years after college in the public library, but I was so happy to be leaving that cesspool of neuroses, rude patrons who felt they had the right to brow beat me because I was paid with their tax dollars, and haz-mat covered books, that there is a good chance I just whistled my resignation as I did a jig out to my car when I found out I’d been accepted to grad school.
This letter should have been written weeks ago, but even when you’ve decided that you are making a change, and even when your hand has been forced anyway so it isn’t much of a decision, it’s no easy thing to do.
Technically it was easy. Z wrote it for me. I have multiple graduate degrees saying I am a fine writer, but the words would not come. When I did try to write them they were full of pleases and thank yous that I didn’t really want to say. Z’s version was straight and true, with nary a word of supplication or apology. I added two flourishes, printed, signed my name, and dropped it in the mailbox in our building that I suspect the mail carrier checks only once a week. It was a passive aggressive mailing, yes, but it is done.
The other thank you I didn’t say this week was to She Who Must Not Be Named. Last week she told my chair that I needed to vacate my office since there is a shortage of office space and I’m rarely on campus. I booked a pricey ticket back to Indiana and dreaded the packing and storing of the goods of my professional life (you know, the books, the Jane Austen figurines, the cymbal-clanging chicken candy dispenser). This week she wrote to say she has reconsidered and I can keep my office. My ticket is non-refundable.
My mother raised me to say thank you, but I just couldn’t tap that one out of my finger tips. So instead I said nothing, which is also a kind of politeness.
It’s raining in Seattle. I’m not sorry.