Saturday, 7 March 2009

Lowering the Tone

photo by Anie*

Dr. No recently started a (very amusing) blog post with the following:

You leave me no choice, I have to go there. If you are thinking: Where, where are we going Dr. No? Will it be fun? Should I pack a bag? Is sunscreen necessary? Should I cancel my classes? The answer, I am sorry to say, is no, no, no, and sure- why the hell not. We are going to a frightening place, a juvenile place, the kind of place where humor abounds for 12 year olds. A place where adults with graduate degrees should not go. Yet, I have to go there.

I would like to humbly invoke the same warning here. I need to share this small experience so that I can freeze it and have a good look at it. It seems to represent one of two or three types of interactions (along with intelligence and "who is more scared of this cricket ball?" competitions) I had to adapt to as someone who grew up with countless brothers. Being away from them, I tend to forget just how fantastically hectic, obscene and brash they can be. Just in case this gets confusing, I wrote this introduction last. What you're about to read was typed as the event was happening:

I just texted my brother to tell him to pop by my place before he heads off to London tomorrow. (He is staying in College, almost directly across the lawn from my place. This means he caught me dancing in my living room on Thursday and tried to mimic me.) This was his reply: "Yeah when you pull back the curtain, I'll be right at the window wearing only my Speedos and brandishing a spatula."

I just want to pull his little cheeks. I love this kind of banter. It gets me absolutely nowhere in this town, but I love it (and I can still refer to academic debates in casual conversations as well as anyone else - I just don't do it as often. So there!).

Just got another text, right now: "See, I am practising with the spatula now" and...yep, just checked, he is indeed in his kitchen waving his wooden spoon around like a drover.

I have been waving back with my phone in my hand, laughing like a proud dork. Another text has just come in: "But tomorrow morning, I'll still be on your window sill. You'll love it."

I can't tell you what precisely my reply was, but essentially I suggested that I would only love it if he whacked his own bottom and publicly apologised for something ridiculous he did when he visited last time.

Anyway (ahem), back to editing a couple of chapters of my thesis. It's Saturday night and I am on page 16/94. It brings to mind an email I received from a friend earlier today that had this in it: "Surely not too much longer." Will award that a 5.5/10 and file it away with the others. Please feel free to send in some crackers of your own for the prize of most well-meaning but unhelpful comment ever made to a PhD student/academic/writer of any sort.


Dr. No said...

HA! Great story. I'm trying to think of the most unhelpful dissertation comment I received...something along the lines of "Oh, that's your first chapter? Interesting, does your committee know?"

Ned said...

"I'm thinking of you...I'm thinking of you...bloody neurotic genius freak who chooses to sit at a computer all her's not a life...who does her washing?...what do those words mean?...I'm thinking of you? I'm thinking of me, with my fat arse and overflowing cheezel packets, my diet coke and my "Dancing with the Stars" series, and complexes about inadequate body proportions. I'm thinking of you...whose thinking of me!?!

Kate said...

-Are you STILL doing that?
-What are you going to do with THAT?
-Oh. So you'll go into academia? (Said with a smug and withering 'those who can't do, teach' look).
-That sounds really boring (I am not joking about that one - what a corker!!)
-Wow, you must really like writing.
-That's like the length of a novel, isn't it?
-I hate theory.

Thank goodness there are people like us who can lower the tone, my lovely! xxxx