Sunday, July 05, 2009

Things Get Busy and Complicated

Today I helped someone deal with her I-515A form. Yet another thing that I am learning at this job: various things about immigration and visas. Soon I will be able to talk about DS-2019 and SEVIS and J-1 with the best of them. I'm unsure what is going to happen when she leaves the US on August 1, as she had to mail in her I-94 card together with her DS-2019 and the I-515A. Fortunately, I suspect that they'll let her leave without much trouble. When it becomes a problem is if she ever wants to come back.

Today I decided that it was summery enough that I could finally treat myself to some ice cream, so I walked over to Toscaninis and agonized over a flavor choice, eventually settled on salted caramel, and then second-guessed my decision, wondering if instead I should have had buttermilk or strawberry-basil or hazlenut (probably not, as I am allergic to hazelnuts even though I eat them anyway) or earl grey.

And then I regretted every bit of inferior ice cream that I've had in the past few months.

We're chock full of guests this week, so I'm bracing to be way more social than I'm used to.

Today someone arrived from India. I think he is going to do my job next summer. Except in India. Where they have never done this before. He is staying until Wednesday or Thursday, I think. But I'm not really sure because no one tells me anything. I've typed up a very official-looking schedule in 10-point font. Part of this schedule involves one of my minions taking him on a tour of campus. I think that they'll take the long way everywhere and tell stories about each room. As the guest from India is probably tired after his journey, I'm hiding from him so that he can have a chance to settle in.

Monday evening is dinner (and a talk) by Noam Elkies. The visitor from India will come along.

On Monday evening a second guest arrives. She will be doing the non-summer part of my job, taking over from the person who used to do this job year round. She has never been here before and may not be entirely clear on what it is that we do and why. Confusingly, she and I both have the same title. Also of note, I am paid through a 1099 and she is an employee. The person who used to do both the part that I do and the part that she does was an employee. If I have the same job title as an employee and do the same work that used to be done by an employee and have no real autonomy in getting my work done, doesn't that mean that I should be an employee? Of course if I were an employee and if the other people who work here were employees, then we might have to stop making all the inappropriate comments that would be uncalled for in a workplace. Which this isn't. Because we're all independent contractors with specified tasks that need to get done in specified places at specified times in specified ways.

Tuesday during the day will be spent trying to get the two guests to entertain each other. I'll probably have to show up, but I'm hoping that if I just sit there quietly they will talk to each other. Tuesday we have dinner (and a talk) with Wolfgang Ketterle. Everyone would much rather talk to a Nobel Laureate than to me, so dinner should not be too bad.

One of the guests might be leaving on Wednesday. Or might not be. So there's really nothing planned. Hoping that if the guest is leaving later in the day that the guest will want to visit Boston. Maybe the guest wants to go off on his own to see Tufts? Olin? Western MA?

Wednesday night we're brining in a panel of 12 people for dinner and a talk.

Thursday all the guests leave. At that point I may need to appeal to the bottle of bourbon that has been sitting around my room in case of emergency.

And then Friday we have Pardis Sabeti (dinner and talk).

The plan is to spend Saturday hiding out, alone, and recovering from the week.