Friday, February 12, 2010

Daily Dialogue

Me: “Get out of your damn pajamas and go running!”

Me: “but its COLD and it SNOWED and when I get tired of running I will be improperly dressed for the weather and stranded.”

Me: “Ok, so don’t go running, just go outside with running clothes under your coat to make yourself feel sporty and energetic.”


Me: “okay, yes indeed, I think I can handle that.”


Me: “So, what about your dissertation project, aren’t you going to work on that today?”

Me: “Yeah, what aBOUT my project!”



Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Idle Hands

This semester, by a twist of paperwork, I am not teaching. People tell me that this is wonderful. I can focus on my own
project and not worry about freshmen who dont know how to spell A-u-s-t-r-a-l-o-p-i-t-h-e-c-u-s. Most graduate students that I have found, hate to teach. They slide their heavy feet along and lament about taking the time to teach students who just don’t care. These graduate students have much more important work to attend to. Well, I have found, that I don’t.

I am feeling astonishingly useless as I sit around at the computer day after day and read and think and write and question. Its just about the most indulgent, selfish activity a human could engage in. Can you imagine another primate spending time on such an activity, that does not procure food or sex. I know, I know, humans have loftier intellectual goals than the basic need to sustain life. But it just feels wrong, for me anyway.

Amazingly enough, its just as self-indulgent and vain as being a true fine artist would have been. But then at least my art could have made someone happy. I doubt my dissertation will bring a smile to anyone’s face in quite the same way a painting might.

My work now is not emotionally cathartic, nor is it practical. At times, like these, its hard to justify doing it at all.

Today I met my husband for lunch. We sat across the table from three women who had on shockingly immense diamond rings and fur coats that looked like they had murdered a bear. The women were in beautiful cashmere sweaters talking about how they have applied to pre-schools for their children and are waiting to hear back. One woman complained incessantly about the nanny, who was no doubt home with her children as we sat there. Another woman scolded the waitress because her now empty plate had been sitting in front of her for a full 15 *gasp* minutes! They seemed cliché and bored.

I realized that I am in the same position as these women (sans the rings, coats, nannies and sweaters of course). But with all the wretched, lonely, despicable anxious parts of having nothing to do and none of the money to actually do something.

As things stand now, I would be better off working in a coffee or pizza shop. But I am afraid my patience and skill for those tasks would fall short of the average person. I know, self pity is always unbecoming.

This video about graduate students from the Simpsons is pretty accurate this week: click to view.


ampersand project

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

“ ”

And how about this quote for a Tuesday, late morning.

Someone reminded me that I referenced this quote once. I didn’t remember using it and suspect it wasn’t really me and that they were mistaken. I am happy to take the credit though:

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
Eleanor Roosevelt