Tonight I arrived back in glorious Huntington, NY. Unlike on pretty much all of my previous visits, my parents had some very interesting news:
My father may be retiring on Monday.
This is a big friggin' deal. My dad has been working at the same place since before my older sister was born. I can't imagine him not working there. Much more than that, I can't imagine him not working. What would he do? There really aren't that many baseball games on non-cable TV. Our dog's been dead for years, and the garden even longer. My sister and I don't live there anymore. He's just given away all of his history books to scholars who haven't spent the last eight years in administration. What in Bob's name will he do all day!?
Here's the sitch, as far as I know it. He's an associate provost. That means that he and two (or possibly now three; I am fuzzy on the recent numbers) other associate provosts report to the capital-P Provost. Actually, I think Associate Provost is also capital-P, but Dad's never been one for that sort of thing. The Provost has been inexplicably fired by the President. Also capital-P. He's definitely one for that sort of thing. Dad loves this Provost; she's been his boss for seven years, and he respects her enormously. If what he said tonight is accurate, then unless the President appoints one of Dad's old friends as interim provost (lower-case p, I'm pretty sure), he'll retire in protest. If one of his old friends gets appointed, he's too loyal to walk out on him/her. (That's not an attempt at gender neutrality; there are two old friends of his in rumored contention, one male and one female.)
My mind is a little blown. If he retires, my mom will definitely consider it also, even though she's never really thought about it before now. She says she can't imagine going into work every day while he stays home. For those of you who know my parents, you must know that this is all crazy. Neither one of them has changed employers in my lifetime. Dad's changed jobs once, going from professor to administrator; Mom has never changed jobs.
I've been trying to get them out of what I see as a rut for a while, and maybe this is the event that'll do it. Who knows. I'm excited and a little worried and generally just stunned. If you know my parents in real life, please don't mention any of this to them. It's probably not something they want repeated yet. I'll keep you updated if you're curious.