April 29, 2004

Striking ... splinters. Jeremy links to some blogs written about the stresses of striking by striking TAs, like this one:
this morning i had a bit of a breakdown and couldn't stop sobbing. it just seemed so ridiculous, the whole picketing thing. everyone kept saying "emily, you are just tired. you have been working so hard!" but other people have been working just as hard or harder and did not break down and cry just because. i mean, what did it was really having to hold in my emotions for so long. i could chant my heart out, but not be bored. i could yell and shout about the sanctity of the picket line, but not feel doubt about a strike i was against. i could sing "solidarity forever", but not hate the people on the line with me. i snapped after being on the line for just one hour. after lunch, i was better. i still have splinters that i can't seem to get out, but i am better.

I felt especially sympathetic re the splinters part, because my son just got a lot of splinters in his hand moving some fencing material around at work. And I tried to get it out using the method that I thought was the right method, using a sterilized needle to pick out one end of the splinter and then tweezers to pull it out. I couldn't get any of them. I resorted to Googling for tips on splinter removal, and learned that the method I was using was the right method, but it wasn't working. I found another method, in more than one place, which was to spread Elmer's Glue over the affected area, then let it dry, then peel it off. That might work for very fine splinters (like after an encounter with a fuzzy cactus), but it didn't help. Another tip was soaking it periodically in warm water with baking soda over the course of a few days and see if they just come out somehow. So more than a day passed before we realized professional help was needed. We went to the UW Clinic, where a nurse (basically using the needle/tweezers method) removed 25 splinters (more than we realized were there). So, strikers, with picket sign splinters: you need to go to the doctor. (I know you have health insurance.)

This is from another TA blog linked by Jeremy----and it explains the hostility of yesterday's chalkings:
Day two of the strike was even worse than the first. After an entire day of certain people literally chasing undergrads, snarking at them, swearing at them, and telling them that they'll rot in hell, we were ordered to be nicer to them today. The thing is, the union never told us that we would be asking undergrads not to attend their classes in the first place. So if the TAs, who were striking, didn't know this fact, how were the undergrads supposed to know?

As I looked around me today on the picket line, most of the people I saw were those of us who voted not to strike. If all of us who voted "no" didn't picket, the Social Sciences building would have been empty. Where were all the "yes" voters?

And now we're supposed to withhold our grades. I was talking to a union member friend today, and I think she summed up best how the next membership meeting and rest of semester will go: "So all the PAs and militant jackasses will vote to grade strike, we'll vote not to do it, and then 7110 Social Sciences will be THE ONLY FUCKING TAS TO ACTUALLY STRIKE."

PS. I do realize that first poster meant emotional splinters ... which reminds me of a question we were batting around the other day about physical and emotional pain. It seems to me that at different levels of pain it switches back and forth whether physical is worse than mental. Take slight pain, like a mild headache: I'd rather have the physical pain. But at some degree of pain: I'd much rather have mental than physical. Yet it is possible to imagine and even higher degree of pain, where you would prefer the physical version again (for example, if the mental pain were the death of a loved one). Not sure where hard-to-remove splinters lie on that spectrum.

PPS. Jeremy seems to think the splinters were real wood splinters, and that's what I thought at first too, but then I decided, no, I was excessively real-wood-splinter focused after this two day splinter-struggle with my son. I need to read what's on the page/screen and not infuse my interpretation with so much of my own personal experience. The whole post was about emotions, with no mention of the physical ordeal of holding the strip of lumber that makes up the picket sign. But if Jeremy thought it too ... and presumably he hasn't been having real splinter problems lately ... (we'd know, wouldn't we?) ... I admit I'm not really sure.

PPPS. Ah, so it is actual wood splinters. And it was the rough lumber of the picket sign handle.

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