Thursday, March 6, 2008

Signaphobia

Yesterday I went to school with a stack of papers that have been awaiting signature a tad too long. My grad advisor is abroad, and the department head agreed to sign on her behalf.

In PSU’s urban campus, I am closest to myself. The old buildings, damp pedestrian crossings, cafe’s, human and automobile traffic-the fusion of idealism with realism. There, as my shoulder brushes against someone else’s with both of us maintaining our separation, I settle deeper into my own skin.

Entering Neuberger Hall, I noticed immediately how especially tense I was. Not only have I had my papers ready four stories ahead of time, I had them stretched out as if the papers were on fire and I was afraid for my safety.

What is it, I thought during the elevator ride? What is it about acquiring signatures that scares me? The more I thought about it, the greater proof I found on how formal signatures freaked me out: signing checks, credit card receipts, contracts, and now my graduation papers as well as bi-arrangement forms.

From Neuberger Hall down to Unitus, and up to Smith Memorial, my heart banged so hard against my chest. Whenever a paper was signed and approved, I felt exceptionally grateful as if the other person was doing me a favor-an illegal favor! There was a definite sense of guilt from my side, like foul play was going on, and someone was about to find out!

I could not make out why I feel how I feel about formal signatures? Could it be due to my cultural background. In high school, college, work, official gov’t quarters, signatures were always related to someone doing me a favor. Someone allowing me a privilege that I am not eligible for, but it came as an act of kindness. Could the vague and undefined relationship between me as a citizen and as a female and the authority be the cause of how fearful I am when signing or acquiring signatures?

3 comments:

insomniac said...

"Could it be due to my cultural background. In high school, college, work, official gov’t quarters, signatures were always related to someone doing me a favor"

One of my worst experiences, and probably the strangest was while applying to be a TA at KSU back in Riyadh. Though I was asked to be a TA by my department, I had to jump through hoops to get all the paperwork done, and get all those "signatures"

Dotsson said...

Why don't you get it out of your system by signing your name on a piece of paper until it is filled up entirely. Make it a sort of art project... use different colored pens. Then scan and upload it when it is finished.

Oh and P.S.: Are you losing it?

Aysha said...

insomniac,
Ah, KSU? Tell me about it! Four years and I was sooo ready to move "on"... (as opposed to "in")

dotsson,
They have to be formal doc's though. I can't lie to myself, or myself will find out :P Am I losing "it" what? I'm always losing something, so you have to be specific.