16 June 2006

Sleeping with Mr. Gordo

I am a excalibur!
Find your own pose!

Spotted this at LaustiChirps and decided, “Why the hell not?” My results confirm all I know about myself as a co-sleeper, which is remarkable considering how positively strange the questionnaire is. I wouldn’t have been less surprised had there been a question like “Do you prefer Chunky, Smooth or Extra-smooth Peanut Butter?” Well, I suppose we can leave the mechanics of such questionnaires to the scientists, and appreciate the results.

One of the joys of finding Mr. Gordo was that we are excellent co-sleepers, which in point of fact and no doubt as many of you know, can be one of the biggest obstacles to the perpetual happiness and joy of couples everywhere. And I don’t mean the simple things like stealing the blankets, I am talking about the significant differences in sleep patterns that mean that you wake up with your date/trick/erstwhile boy/girlfriend on the couch (or alternatively, you on the couch, or even more alternatively, you in your apartment and he/she in his/hers).

Sleeping with Mr. Gordo is like a really good Vanilla: smooth and subtle and delicious and quietly satisfying. Vanilla as a flavour gets a bad rep as boring, basic, uninspired. But for those of us with our minds on the exquisite differences and similarities in the realm of the sense of taste, a quality Vanilla is sublime and delicate, and has been utterly ruined by the commercialisation and synthetic mass-production of the flavour. In fact, like pepper, another ubiquitous flavour regarded as somewhat quotidian, Vanilla has a distinguished and complicated history as one of the major foundations of global capitalism and trade. It is easy, in our world of extreme taste sensations, both of the palate and in the realm of the socio-cultural, to forget there was a time when the flavouring of most food was the water it was boiled in, and how the drive for flavour fed imperialism as well as a greater consciousness of the world.

In any event, sleeping with Mr. Gordo is akin to this lost, secret history of Vanilla, in that you don’t know what you got until it’s gone. Mr. Gordo and I shared a bed pretty much every night for almost three years, and we became used to our patterns and rhythms in unconscious ways. Before him, I thought, given my history as an only child, it was difficult sleeping with another person because I was not used to sharing the bed. But in fact, it was because I was not paired with appropriate co-sleepers. It also helps that Mr. Gordo is hearing impaired (He would probably say “challenged,” if he said anything at all), so the mutual racket we make (snoring… there, I’ve said it) goes blissfully over our heads, because we are both deep sleepers (and plus, he can’t hear).

Two gordos, intertwined like gloriously fleshy and hairy bathing beauties, is a pleasure I can only have when he is here or I am there. Oh, sure, I’ve returned to my single-sleeper ways, in my little garret (pictured above, for your delight). After all, I’ve slept alone for most of my life. But returning to the heavenly slumbered embrace of Mr. Gordo is one of the best parts of being together again.

On a passing note, I received my student evals for last semester yesterday, and because I have been dealing with more pressing matters at school, only gave them a passing glance, which is good, since if I had more time on my hands to actually be focused on them, I might be a little more freaked out than I am. Our evals are incredibly scientific, with frequency tables and statistics galore and percentages that can make the mind spin (and call for a careful observation of these figures). Overall, not bad, and my scores are high, but it’s the comments that always get me. Invariably, at every institution I have taught at, they have always been divided between enthusiasts (“Keeper! Cold City U. needs more professors like this!”), middle-roaders (who actually tend to offer useful comments and critiques of the course structure while avoiding ad hominem statements), and playa haters (“I didn’t like the class because I didn’t like him”).

I have come to the conclusion that I am the sort of professor that tends to trigger strong emotions and therefore, reactions, in students, and take the good with the bad in this regard, with a rather Zen-like calm (now, for there was a time when student evals would send me into a tail spin it would take weeks to recover from). I also understand the course evaluation process as deeply, profoundly flawed, and problematic in its institutional use value. I am just grateful the critics haven’t moved on to RateMyProfessors.com to exude their bile, unlike some of my former students at Sadistic College. Cold City U. students typically have neither the time nor direction to waste their energy spewing online, as they tend to be more grounded in life and work than the processes of education, and the tiresome navel-gazing that sometimes entails. But even with my Buddha pose, some comments are funny in their chutzpah.

The same student who said he or she did not like me also said, under the question on course improvement, “Find a new profession.” I could offer a deconstruction of this comment, the profound depths of misunderstanding it represents, both of the teaching process as well as the training of intellectuals and professors, the state of the profession, the rise of consumer economies in the university, the challenge of teaching race and sexuality, the fact that this is my fourteenth year of teaching university, and all that. But why waste one’s breath? Upon reading this comment, I just thought, as I tossed the file onto a pile of documents that have needed filing since October, “Well, thanks for the advice, and fuck you too,” and left it at that. That, in my mind, is the most appropriate answer to a statement like that. I’ve moved beyond the messy processing of student commentary that, especially in this instance, is so obviously useless in any regard, other than as a barometer of how out of whack things have become in the Shop. This may not be the most erudite response, but what can I say, it has been a long year, my garret is hot and humid, and I'm cranky. So, sue me.

Keep your eyes on the prize, which at this moment, in my hot little garret, is sleeping again with Mr. Gordo, in his hot little garret, very soon.


Percival said...

Indelicate vixen! Fie!

- Percy Bysshe Silly

GayProf said...

Hail, Amazon Sister! I have a complicated relationship with teaching evals (I still have not even opened the ones from Fall 2005).

In terms of sleeping, my liar ex (who told many lies) and I did not sleep well together. So many omens were there that he was wrong for me, yet I just betrayed myself over and over again. Sigh.

Sfrajett said...

I did your test and it freaked me out. How can a test tell me my true sleep pose based on cheese? Yet it's true. Eeek.

Anonymous Professor said...

Hey thanks for the post on my blog, and I will definitely link to yours. Finding the right sleeping partner is key. The last girl I was dating and I - it didn't really work out all that well. She was quite thin, and somehow it always happened that my arm would get caught under her side and cut off the circulation, leading to a rousing 3 AM wake up in pins and needles. It seems counterintuitive, but a little bit of flesh between me and her femur would have made all the difference in that relationship.

On the evals - I find that they tell you very little for the most part. Some students will hate you, some will like you, and the vast majority won't write anything because they just want to get the hell out of class and would rather have an enema than fill out a form.