Sunday, September 14, 2008

You Had Us at "Hogs." Tales from Adjunctland. (Pack Your Neosporin.)

As a three-year veteran of adjuncting, I have sympathy for Angular Anne and her ilk. Or I did until I attended last week’s adjunct orientation, my participation in which was necessitated by the fact that our college just relocated to a campus 15 miles away from the convenient old one and no one knows his or her way around. I expected the usual drill of ID cards, computer passwords, parking permits, and not getting a copier code, but it turns out that our shiny, new, still-under-construction campus comes with some additional surprises. Namely the wild hogs.

That’s right, in their infinite wisdom, the board of regents decided to relocate the campus to the edge of a nature preserve that has somehow managed to survive the onslaught of big boxes and apartment complexes that surround the rest of the campus. The upside of working at a nature preserve in the middle of suburbia is that it’s a beautiful setting. The downside is that in addition to my usual worries about indifferent students, low pay, and an information deficit, I now also get to contend with the great outdoors.

Among the threats about which we’ve been warned are wild turkeys that like to peck at the windows, all kinds of plants whose names begin with the word “poison,” and the aforementioned wild hogs. (No one seems to know what to do if one of those interrupts a lecture.) We’ve also been instructed to “learn the difference between poisonous and non-poisonous snakes.” Luckily, of the twelve poisonous ones they’ve caught so far, only one was inside a building. It was a rattlesnake.

At least the college cares enough about its adjuncts to make full-color handouts of the various flora and fauna we’re likely to encounter. And of the rashes that each type will deliver.