Sunday, May 18, 2008

Academia: Noted by Its Absence Plus Digressions

I started to take over Maude's comments to explore how disconnected I feel from academia. This is the way in which this is still an academic blog: I can feel academia's absence -- along with it, most of the sense that I'm well-educated and/or worthy of respect or being listened to. At work, I have to deal with a young doofus who treats me like a bimbo -- he is surprised when I say I can't recognize quotes from Speed and Rocky V. I'm half-tempted to quote 9 to 5 at him the next time he insists on playing movie trivia: "I'm no girl, I'm a woman. I'm not your wife or your mother. . .or even your mistress. I am an employee and as such I expect to treated equally -- with a little dignity and a little respect." Would he get it? No way. Would he see the connection to himself -- note that the other night he said "goodbye, girls," to me as well as a woman who looks at him as a son (she is probably ten years than I am)? Pests like him get on my nerves. But it's not really him, maybe, as much as that here in Urban Home City I am a kid again -- with the boyfriend I had a million years ago and jobs well outside of my particular expertise. It's almost as if I didn't just write a dissertation, contributing to the knowledge of my field. As if I've never written at all. Never done anything at all, but am just older, still waiting for my life to start.

In all fairness, I remember feeling very far from my scholarly expertise at Adventure U, where most of the other members of my department were instructors and had no theoretical or scholarly backing or, even, in some cases, interest in the best thinking in the field.

My biggest excitement at the moment is not how I am ever going to de-fuzz the article I wrote for an edited collection (though that still needs to be done) or think through some problem in my teaching or theory, but what I'm going to cook tonight from the farmer's market. I'm not complaining about cooking, or the farmer's market, or, even, for once, being pregnant, but I'd like to know how it is that people maintain a sense of connection to their fields even when they are taking unofficial sabbaticals from teaching. I know many of you have done this. Please tell me how.

I've spent the weekend in lovely sloth. It is truly and miserably hot in Urban Home City right now. I've been puttering, putting my hand on my belly to see if I can feel kicking (Absurdist Lover got kicked or maybe butt-bumped -- who can know??? -- last night) or just the same fluttering I've been feeling, and reading The Handmaid's Tale again. On Monday, we saw the baby on the ultrasound. I distinctly saw a head, though all sorts of other things the doctor pointed out were murky. I was kind of shocked for a couple days, unable to really communicate what was going on. I'm having a baby -- and my life will never be the same (not a terrible thing in itself as I was driving myself nuts and going on Zoloft and all that, but totally scary nonetheless). But also I went to a male doctor -- a nice one, but still -- instead of a female midwife. It was more clinical an experience than I would have liked. Also, my belly has totally pooched, and I can barely fit into anything. Absurdist Lover continues to be his slim sculpted self. His belly button will continue to be an inny. I feel like he too should go through some physical transformation. Instead he lets me be my beached whale self and tends to many things. He's waiting for me to get my act together now so we can purchase some meat to go with all those farmer's market vegetables. I should go.


Maude said...

this is one of the most positive posts i've heard from you in a long time. you sound calm.

i will answer your question in a post, soon.

are you still going to SF this weekend? i hope so! i can't wait to see you!

k8 said...

There should be a club for those of us who will be on the job market this coming year while residing outside of academia. I'll be there soon - I move away from campus city in 1 1/2 weeks - but I already feel separate.

Btw, if that guy quotes from Rocky V, he has his own set of issues. If he isn't in a position of power above you, I'd definitely put him in his place in the classiest way possible. That way, you look like you rock and he looks like the tiny little man he is.

Earnest English said...

K8, you, Maude, and I (and anyone else we find) should form a club for the fall, perhaps committing to writing a couple blog posts about residing outside of academia -- which is actually an important way to put it. It's not that I feel like I'm just working outside of academia, but that I live elsewhere -- I have to learn how to commute in!

I'm trying to figure out how to put the guy in his place -- but it's hard. I'm not good at it.

Jane D said...

You sound good! :-) Yay!