On Thursday, two students somehow feel entitled to have relations in your office. You interrupt their passionate paroxysms. He cries sexual harassment. And wolf. And for his mother. She cries. And cries. And cries.
Come Monday, the Sexual Harassment Police call you to "talk" about "the incident." You are asked to participate in a "fact-finding interview." You ask the investigator what this about and are informed that its purpose can be discussed it in detail on Friday. An hour later, you send the investigator an email asking for more information and the response contains nothing but a link to your employer's sexual harassment policy.
On Wednesday you call the Sexual Harassment Police to confirm the time of your "fact-finding interview." The person who answers the phone informs you that your "hearing" will occur on Friday at 10:00 AM. "My hearing?!?" you interrobang. Only polite-like because you're from the South and in the South one interrobangs politely.
Given this sequence of events, would you suppose that the student had followed through with his threat to file a sexual harassment complaint against you? The patently spoiled student swore a blood oath. The investigator stonewalled you. The secretary sprung a hearing on you. Things had spun out of control.
So you don't sleep well . . . and when you muster some winks you dream about tar and torn down-pillows. You imagine yourself covered in the first feathering of countless young birds and everyone (denuded fowl included) points and laughs at you.
You wake from these dreams dripping sweat and craving chicken. (You are determined to give those stripped striplings the what-for they so richly deserve.) So you wouldn't sleep that much. You would occupy the couch and watch terrible movies while your wife slept soundly in the bedroom. You would fear the hounds this indulged undergraduate loosed upon you. You would fear the investigator who refused to divulge details. You would fear your shadow and inadvertently damn New England to another six bitter winter weeks. Don't deny it. You would . . .
. . . and in doing so you would involve yourself in the monumental misunderstanding that has been my life for the more than a week now. Today I have been thoroughly detenebrated. (Not defenestrated. In this house only cats are defenestrated. And only by other cats. And in good fun. Except for the defenestrated feline. Who was fine.) I have seen the errors of my cynical ways because today I learned that sometimes people are not out to destroy all I hold dear with hot tar and serious plumage. Turns out no one filed a complaint.
Turns out the Sexual Harassment Police wondered whether I wanted to file one. Why couldn't the investigator have told me this over the phone last week? Why all the cryptic comments about coming in to discuss it? Apparently that's protocol in sexual harassment cases. The investigator prefers to question faces over voices. The investigator also cannot fathom how I would think a complaint had been filed against me.
From the perspective of the investigator, I had cancelled Friday's meeting and lawyered up as prelude to filing suit against the university for creating an environment in which I could be harassed. When I lawyered up, they consulted their lawyers and all of this is nothing more than the result of an initial but fundamental misunderstanding: I took the student's complaint seriously because we live in a litigious culture. The investigator thought I would have some common sense about the situation. From there our attempts to aid each other according to the policies which bind us both were doomed to fail.
What I want to know from you good people is whether 1) I have lost faith in humanity and need to learn to love my fellow man again or 2) treated this situation with admirable cynicism. Sadly I seem to feel both options equally compelling. But then I'm still swimming in suspect ambiguity and haven't learned my lesson. I need to learn my lesson.
And sleep. All day. And all of the night.
[This melancholia has been brought to you by Wilco's Kicking Television, John Vanderslice's Pixel Revolt and Wolf Parade's Apologies to the Queen Mary. Excellent albums all. Music to despair your humanity to. What more could you ask for?]