Poliphilo enters the wood in a dream, Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, 1499
I'm starting this new job in September. It's at a place I'm calling Per Una Selva Oscura University. Because that's how I feel, right now. New job, (first job actually), new house, new car, new location. And they just sent me this huge folder of stuff: forms to fill out, plans to consider, information to send. It was all very prettily arranged and on top was a checklist for new faculty, for which I am very grateful. But I still feel a bit Dante-esque right now.
And now I need to get a replacement social security card because I need one to start my new job and apparently I may have had one at one time, but all I can remember is my mother telling me to memorize my number, and never having or seeing an actual card. I think perhaps I believed that no one actually had a social security card. We just have these numbers that are figuratively tattooed on our memories. At least that's what I thought. But no, I need to obtain a replacement card because I once had a card, even though I thought it was an imaginary card. So now I need to go to the US consulate with my passport and hope that it doesn't take 10 business days, or that they won't be mailing my passport to the closest social security card center, which is in Burlington, Vermont. I'm fairly sure my passport is not supposed to go out of the country without me. I'm fairly sure, at least, that my work permit is not permitted to leave the country without me.
There are also all of these decisions to make: small, lovable credit union or huge national bank with great deals for professors? To life insure, or not to life insure? University and State retirement plan, or TIAA-Cref (which I like to refer to as "treble clef" because I don't know what the hell those letters stand for anyway)? High dental plan or low? High vision plan or low? Verizon, Cingular, or grassroots cell phone company? Rent or buy? Civic or Impresa? Why are the only choices yuppie A or yuppie B? And all those forms. I thought registering as a postdoc in Montreal and taking the train from Philadelphia to New York for a Canadian work permit was a pain in the ass. But now I have to do it all again, and more.
Oh well, at least I have a "New Faculty Check-List." And a prettily organized folder, which also has a map of campus. And a list of phone numbers in human resources. Thank god for all that. I will be ok because Everything I Need is here in this folder. I am feeling less overwhelmed already. Thank you, Selva Oscura. I think I love you.