I'm so pissed.
Back at the beginning of the year, I wrote about the difficulties of having to share office space with someone. It turned out to be okay, in the end. She set a schedule that saw each of us here four half days a week - I went along with this because I was trying to be easy to work with, and I didn't really care that much. It turned out she almost never came in. Literally. Except for one day a week, she wasn't using the office when she said she was going to. And she stopped letting me know she wasn't coming in. So I would dutifully spend chunks of time in the office of a colleague across the hall, for no reason - she just wouldn't come in. I realized halfway through the term that her not being there was a function of her absolute, chaotic disorganization, as well as of the fact that she lives one hour's drive away. She couldn't get it together to get in to use the office before she taught, for example - she would literally always be flying onto campus 3 minutes before her classes. It was working fine, though, overall.
Not anymore. Yesterday, I sent her a very friendly email suggesting some revised hours for use of the office, taking into account our slightly different schedules this term. She wrote me back the nastiest, most passive-aggressive note. I was shocked, shaking with anger. I closed my office door and just swore. Judging by the tone of this note, she has been harbouring some resentment toward me for, uh, using our office. When she's not here, and has no intention of being here. Go figure.
I don't know how to convey what she said without getting into really boring details of our schedule. But the part that bothers me the most is this veiled accusation that I have been inattentive to her needs. When she has never, not once, told me her needs beyond that she needed the office for at least one full day a week. Which I then offered to her. In fact, I looked at my old emails and when I began the conversation about sharing the office, my initial proposal was that we have full days, not half days. She turned that down, and is now passive-aggressively accusing me of not accommodating her need for that. Uh, okay.
The larger issue here is that this is very clearly a territory-marking thing. She's pissing on the territory of this office just because she can. She is demanding a full day in here on a day that she doesn't even teach - a day that I do teach. So I don't get access to my office on a day that I prep and teach, and she's proposing that she - disorganized as she is, and never once having come in on a day that she doesn't teach - has the office on that full day. The thing is, she'll probably never make it here. And yet she has to stake her claim. And push me out into someone else's office, away from my books and papers and an Internet connection - all of which I use when I prep.
Don't mistake me; I fully intend to give her half the week in here (even though she doesn't use it). It's just that I think it is ridiculous to push me out entirely on a day when I teach and she doesn't, just because she can't get her act together to get here before class on a day when she actually does teach.
What is worse is that this insane territory-marking bravado comes from this person who styles herself as a giving, loving, motherly, sweet feminist type. Give me a break.
(I guess the honeymoon with my department and colleagues is over, huh?)
The larger issue here is space and territory-marking in general at this university. There is a space crisis here - that's why we have to share this office. But I have learned that there are several fancy people who maintain multiple offices at different locations on the campus, and never use them. There is all this office space sitting empty because people are being greedy and protectionist. Bah. Piss off, all you space hogs.