in my mailbox

I've been in many, many meetings yesterday and today -- to the point that my brain is feeling really tired even though it hasn't really done anything. . . and now, not only do I have a ton of work that I need to do, I'm way behind on reading blogs (amazing how much piles up in two days!) .

I didn't come into the office on Monday, since I knew the rest of the week would be full of office crap. So I read and wrote at home and enjoyed the nice weather. So yesterday (Tues) when I checked my mailbox at the office, I was surprised to find a card. I opened the envelope. It was a Valentine from an older female colleague. WTF??? Not since 3rd grade have I been in a situation where it was customary to exchange Valentines with people you were not currently romantically involved with.

Now, this colleague (I'll call her Older Princess) and I have a long and complex history. As one of the department's few female faculty for many years, OP was used to being the darling. OP is fairly glamourous (not hard in an English dept) and capitalizes on her style to win favor with male adminstrators etc. She plays by the rules of the old school, and she's succeeded. But she's threatened by younger female colleagues. Her status as the darling Princess has slipped, particularly as younger generations of female scholars have come in who vastly outpublish her (even though she has Full faculty rank). OP hated me for two years because she saw me as part of a conspiracy against her -- because I was on a search committee that recommended not to hire a candidate she wanted. (Who did get hired and has been a huge pain the in the collective ass of the department ever since.) When OP hates you, she makes it very clear, and organizes her clique to vote against you on any and all issues.

Then maybe two years ago we achieved some kind of truce after working together on another search committee (nothing like being stuck in a hotel room doing interviews at the convention to create an illusion of intimacy). So we've been cordial ever since. I think I'm on her good side, and I do what I can to maintain that, without compromising my values in any way.

But a valentine? I can only guess that she's (subconsciously?) wooing me for something, some kind of political agenda within the department. But I don't know what it is. And this seems like an odd way to go about it.