Saturday, August 21, 2010

Change of Seasons

I'm sitting outside a sandwich place on the Upper West Side, waiting for it to open so I can grab some food for the trip to Boston. It was originally supposed to be a four-day gig, and I was originally supposed to leave at 2:30 am yesterday so I'd arrive in time this morning, but the Saturday job was canceled, so instead my partner and I are able to make our way down in a leisurely fashion this afternoon. We'll spend the night in the hotel, maybe have a swim in the pool, and then I'll start the gig tomorrow fresh and rested. Even though the loss of a day's work means a bit less cash in my pocket, the logistics are much more workable this way, so on balance I'm pretty pleased.

This is always an odd time of year for CART providers. School starts the week after next, and we're usually counting our pennies at this point, because summers tend to be much slower than during the school year, and because we have to save up for our next quarterly tax payment on September 15th, which is usually after we've started our academic work, but before the checks have started to come in.

This summer's actually been much better than the previous two; I had the good fortune to CART for a student who was taking a summer class, and I was able to fill in the gaps with a good amount of onsite event work for the Library and the Disabilities Network (part of the ADA anniversary celebrations), plus some remote CART here and there, and my old summer standby, transcription.

Transcription isn't very lucrative compared to CART, but it's easy, I can do it anywhere whenever I've got some free time, and I've got a great client that's sent me one interview per day nearly every weekday this summer. It's a nice supplement to my savings and the piecework I've been able to dig up. Oh, I've also finished my fourth summer of theater captioning, which I do once or twice a month. This summer's highlight was definitely A Little Night Music with the incomparable Bernadette Peters. I previewed it twice to get all the tricky Sondheimy bits just right, so counting the show I captioned, I got to see it three times in all.

Now I'm in the midst of the pre-semester rush. My own fall schedule has been fixed for a while now (and will stay that way, with any luck), but I've been getting phone calls and emails and text messages asking if I can cover this class or that class, and sadly I've got very little space left to fill. I've been able to pass on a lot of the extra work to colleagues, including two days at the United Nations, which I had a blast covering last summer; I guess they decided to hold the conference a week later this year, which meant that it overlapped the first week of the semester. It's always a good feeling to be able to help out a friend and fellow CART provider with some extra work, but it also makes me a little wistful that there aren't more hours in the day. I'm sure I only feel that way after the comparatively mellow months of summer. Check back with me after I've settled into my fall schedule and I might not be so eager to take on additional hours. This fall I'm CARTing for four students at three different schools, in subjects ranging from Architecture to Latin, plus the weekly radio show, the daily transcription work, and the theater captioning. It's a busy life, but I love it.

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoyable read, Mirabai! You've got a great flow to your writing, it almost feels like we're having a conversation in person. It's nice to know more about the ebb and flow. I do remember that from my TypeWell days. It's nice to have periods where you work very intensely, then a nice calm settles in where you can sit back and reflect on everything you learned. Sounds like a pretty good gig to me :)

    Pretty cool that you're able to float work from one person to another. If you get a small community of great CART providers, it would be rewarding to see each other working successfully and sharing the work.

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