I Am A College Administrator — I Am Powerful — I Am Invisible
We locked eyes and jointly knew that you had to decide quickly. Which side would you choose? I, a paunchy, balding college administrator, was ascending the right lane of the divided staircase on my way out of the dining hall. You paused at the stop of the stairs, looking down on me with dark eyes and a gloomy expression. Were you anticipating today’s final exam? I watched your UGG-booted foot apathetically step into my lane and my heart sank. The only choice for me was to cross into the left side at the next landing and keep climbing. Your step was the laziest assertion of being that I have ever seen, and yet I was immediately forced to consider its implications.
First: What the fuck? Does my employment at this middling university annihilate my humanity? I am a person! I am a human being! What gives you the right to treat me like some irrelevant pebble on the path to your afternoon breakfast? Who do you think you are, exactly? I have been working here long before you and will remain long after. I am an institution here — I have an office, a name on my door, and a voicemail box. Let me ask you this — would you treat your accounting professor so poorly? You wouldn’t because you want something from her. You see this place and the people who work here as vending machines; you give us money and we give you grades and job prospects. You believe I have nothing to give you because I do not teach, but this school is my life and I am part of its beating heart. What do you know of a life’s work? Yours has yet to begin! You are a pup suckling at the warm, subsidized breast of a Stafford Loan. I’m an administrator. Get the fuck out of my face.
Second: Your perfume was intoxicating. Was it Princess by Vera Wang? Did you want me? Perhaps you thought that the close quarters of the divided staircase would allow us to brush against each other like two sexy ships passing in the night. Your lululemons may hug your supple curves in an appealing way, but I am immune: I stopped shotgunning Keystone Light like five years ago. Also, I would never jeopardize my career by engaging sexually with a college student. Haven’t you read the Chronicle lately? Didn’t you notice my wedding ring? Please. I’m an administrator. I have horse blinders.
Third: What have I become? Your choice and my subsequent change of lane forced to me take on an identity that was not my own. No longer was I just a balding man clutching his decaffeinated coffee and two chocolate-chip cookies. You transformed me into someone who, defying convention and without consideration of others, was walking up the incorrect side of the stairs; a clueless fat man carrying some embarrassingly large cookies. Previously invisible, I became glaringly apparent to everyone. Worse still, by forcing me to change my path, you rendered my very agency as impotent as my coffee. How could I let this happen? For Christ’s sake — I’m white, I’m male, and I’m an administrator. I’m supposed to have all the power here. What is it about me that told you I would surrender? I’m an administrator! I’m nothing!
Finally: I hope you know that you were my first. Never before had I felt the interpersonal irrelevance that comes with age, so thank you for that gift of self-awareness. It may surprise you to learn that I know who Drake is. I started from the bottom, too, and now I’m here. I’m an administrator. I’m still hip, motherfucker.