Thursday, 5 February 2009
What's Going On
Here is a lazy description of what's been going on:
1) It's been snowing. A lot.
2) There are a couple of Italian, male visiting scholars in our Department. One of them is fulfilling expectations: he is outgoing, cheeky and flirtatious. The other one has tattoos and a moustache.
3) I have been having some animated and fairly interesting conversations with women this week. We've covered topics like whether and on what basis: the media frames women in their thirties who have not married or had any children as products of the ills of Western society (we decided, essentially, that it's a luxury not to have to make those choices and that women should not have to bear that symbolic weight alone if at all); it is necessary to pretend that our theses have wider (non-academic) purposes and audiences in order to feel motivated and special; there is relationship between achievement and birth order; Sex and the City had any merit whatsover in terms of the questions it raised or whether its starting position (that women like to buy expensive shoes and bags) automatically negated its value; we can accept that highly ambitious, "save the world" men will probably also have overbearing egos and insecurities etc. (etc. = cheat)
4) I nearly suffered a palsy when my supervisor smacked an email on my desk, mid-paragraph, and said, "I am not going to comment" as she walked off. I thought the worst: that the Faculty had agreed that I was in danger of never submitting my thesis and had decided to let me go or that a colourful, carelessly-worded email of mine to a family member had accidentally been sent to my supervisor. It was, in fact, an email from a College pal, who is also the head of men's rowing, to my supervisor saying that she had to tell me she was going to "fail" me unless I coxed for them.
5) I am not coxing this term. I may never cox again.
6) A Canadian student with a deep voice who I met through a mutual friend came into my Department today and spotted me at my desk. She submitted in December and told me that she has already sorted an ESRC one year postdoc in London and was today being interviewed at my Department for a three year postdoc after that. Wowsers. Four years sorted. Good night. I wound up my shame-screen up even though she was just being frank and even sympathetic.
7) One of the College porters is enraged about a media conspiracy to sell the snowfall and the financial crisis as more serious than they really are.
8) I am pretty content with how my work is going. Still a long way to go and I can see my face drop and my eyes age by the day. I am also waking up frowning and buzzing. But, apart from all that (ahem), it's peachy times. I do feel lucky to be writing my thesis, and I have decided that I picked a good topic to develop my academic writing style, to make it more discursive and engaging.