in recent days i have been learning new things. such as what a warranty really means, and what value other people place on one's time. unrelated subjects, but let me waffle for a moment and i will elucidate.
in january i travelled across the ditch in order to tell stories and make colours for a week. i packed my needs for the journey in a newly acquired Samsonite super-suitcase, basically an elephant-shaped object with four wheels that i had been seduced into acquiring because it could roll alongside me like a happy puppy and because it had a three-year warranty.
what's wrong with a backpack? you mutter. and rightly so. backpacks give one a freedom in travel and for many wandering years a smallish example of such objects had an almost parasitic attachment to my shoulders.
sadly age hath wearied me (and the years condemned) and various amusing occupations such as sheep-crutching and an unexpected dismount from my horse (not her fault, but mine) have reduced me to using what resembles a caravan for pygmies when i travel. the need for the transport of teaching materials has something to do with that, as well.
to trim a story of potentially epic proportions, i arrived at my destination to find that my new friend had been damaged (on its virgin excursion) to the extent that it could no longer be closed except by the application of bountiful amounts of binder twine (the contemporary equivalent of no.8 wire). as a farmer, i always carry binder twine somewhere in my chattels.
never mind, i thought (ever the optimist), it has a 3 year warranty and they'll fix it.
pas c'est soir, Josephine...the gentleman representing Samsonite in my nearest metropolitan centre (2hours from my home) informed me yesterday that this damage was not the fault of the makers and that placing luggage in this object and giving it into the care of an airline was somehow not a reasonable use of a suitcase (in the terms of the warranty). i am a little confused by this, but waiting developments.
and the bit about time and value? i have been informed by a teaching institution on the east coast of the big island to the west of Aotearoa that my fee (set by me, for workshops) is far too high and that unless i accept the level of reimbursement offered by them they must decline the opportunity to use my services.
that's fine by me. my fee simply reflects the fact that i must spend at least day to travel (to anywhere else on this continent) and that what i have to offer students is a knowledge of my field gleaned over a life that spans nearly half a century (and a quarter of a century's research). there's no way i'm going to drive 2hours to the airport, buy a plane ticket to the east coast and teach for 4 hours (at $30 an hour) even if they will let me stay in their flat overnight. i'd still be substantially out of pocket. meanwhile their lecturers enjoy tenure, superannuation, use of offices & libraries and other benefits on generous paypackets that (in terms of actual costs to their home institution) work out at about $1500 per day, per person (not including their international excursions!).
if they don't think that i'm worth what i ask (which is rather less than that estimated cost i've noted above) then frankly i'd rather stay home on the farm.
and if Samsonite don't fix my suitcase, i may have to!
postscript : they fixed my suitcase! so now Dumbo (the suitcase does look like a small elephant) can fly again...