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.