Class Matters

Our COVID apparatchik at work sent me a really pissy email that I had been in touch with somebody COVID-positive and have to leave campus immediately.

I was really surprised because I’d been in contact with this guy throughout my own COVID and the tone of his communications with me had been completely different. It was basically the difference between “please don’t worry, your majesty, we’ll make sure your life isn’t disrupted by this mishap” and “get the fuck outta here, you stupid trash.”

So I called him on the phone. It’s an internal campus phone. He sees my name and title on the screen. And again, it’s weird, because his tone with me from the start of the conversation was the usual “and how may I be of help, you fragile vessel of extreme amazingness?” Like he hadn’t just sent me a curt, imperious, very pissy and really confusing email.

I asked him what’s up and guess what? The pissy email had been sent to me by mistake. The real addressee was the Dean

the Provost

the Chair of Biology

a woman who works in the cafeteria.

Call me hopelessly naive but I honestly couldn’t have imagined that they have different email templates based on a person’s social class. I don’t know how to explain this but I’ve never received an email at work worded like that one. I do not inhabit a reality where anybody thinks it’s OK to talk to me like that. And I don’t hear anybody addressing anybody else like that, so I didn’t really even know it existed.

I’m now wondering how many gradations of the template there are. Does an untenured instructor get a larger dose of pissiness than I do but smaller than the cafeteria worker? Does the Dean get a more obsequious email than I got? But less obsequious than the Provost?

Another weird thing was that the instructions in the email were very confusing. I’m no stranger to reading complex texts but this one was too much even for me. Among other things, it said that I needed to get tested immediately but make sure I don’t get tested before day 6 of the 8-day quarantine or day 8 of the 10-day quarantine and that length depends on when I get tested. Again, I was in a similar situation to this woman’s a few months ago, and there was nothing like this. It’s like they are trying to confuse people on purpose and make them feel stupid, is what I’m saying.

6 thoughts on “Class Matters

  1. As you said, the guy is a Covid apparatchik. His livelihood depends on the endlessness of the pandemic. And it’s easier to set up the proles to spread disease rather than the hysterical elites.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel like channeling my grandma and going and telling that fellow that he is “acting ugly” and “that’s not how we treat each other in this house” and we are gonna “march down there” and apologize right now…

    That woman’s religion was politeness.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. He doesn’t speak this language, so he won’t get it. Instead, I mentioned that revealing the cafeteria worker’s identity to me was a HIPAA violation because this is private medical information. Then he apologized to the woman in writing in a very contrite tone.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “Instead, I mentioned that revealing the cafeteria worker’s identity to me was a HIPAA violation because this is private medical information. Then he apologized to the woman in writing in a very contrite tone.”

        That story made my morning:)

        Liked by 2 people

  3. These jerks who kiss ass of those they consider superior or for some reason useful, while they shell out abuse to those whom they consider lower on the totem pole or otherwise useless are the scum of the earth, the absolute worst people.

    A few years ago, I witnessed a colleague just tear into a waiter on a busy Friday evening because the restaurant was out of bacon-wrapped shrimp. I remember the kid going all pale and shaking as the jerk just let him have it for no fucking reason. That colleague revealed he was basically a complete garbage person, and is now dead to me. I don’t go as far as to sabotage him, but I certainly do nothing to support him, as I normally do for others in the field. I refuse to review his papers and grants, whereas it would generally be a benefit to have someone really close to your expertise review your work; I discourage my students from being postdocs in his group; I explicitly request that he be removed as a reviewer of my work when possible.

    Liked by 1 person

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