Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I woke up Sunday all perky, knowing that there was something to look forward to, but not quite remembering what that would be. And then I got distracted making blueberry pancakes from the pounds we picked at the Dexter Blueberry Farm on Friday. Of course, my kids wouldn't eat blueberry pancakes since they are pathologically afraid of anything that could be construed as "good for them" even when it is drowned in maple syrup.

So I forgot that the Yarn Harlot was coming to the AADL and instead continued on our mission to finish the office that we have been building for, oh, let's be generous and say 4 years, though I think 5 would be a little closer to the truth.

We are in the home stretch: we finished staining and finishing and putting up all the trim (that's a lot of trim when you realize that the office has 5 windows) two weeks ago. We have the bookshelves in and this weekend we embarked on the hunt for a desk which finally, after going to every flipping depressing-as-hell furniture store in Ann Arbor, landed us at Ikea on a Sunday.

Take my advice and don't go to Ikea on a Sunday. We got lucky and arrived just before the insane hoards of people and were able to get the kids into Smalland so they could play in the ball pit for 45 minutes while we tried to track down what we wanted. By the time we left, they were running shuttle buses to remote parking areas and there was a 25 minute long line in the cafeteria. So we didn't get to end the trip with a dose of gravlax (it's good gravlax) and instead dealt with our plummeting blood sugar levels with 50 cent hot dogs, potato chips and lingonberry juice that they sell on the way out the door.

So I didn't get to see the Yarn Harlot due to my own feeble-mindedness. But I am typing this not from the crammed-in-back crappy addition (that we plan to pull down sometime in the future when we have recovered from this renovation experience) but from a clean new desk, on a new chair, in my now functional office! Still more to do here--gotta get the blinds up, a door knob on the door and all the books on the shelves--we retrieved 15 bins of books and papers from my parent's basement where they have been stored and inaccessible for years.

I made a dinner that was the antithesis of lunch:
Clockwise from the top: kale and beet greens from the garden sauteed with garlic and dried hot peppers, steamed green beans from the garden, salad with feta and the first tomatoes, cucumbers and scallions from the garden, beets from the garden, Avalon organic pumpernickel bread, and boiled new potatoes from the Farmer's Market

And after dinner, I settled in and did the incredibly therapeutic action of sifting through the box that contained all my Northwestern papers and files. There was a recycling bin on the other side of me and I dumped anything with the phrases "paradigm," "dialectics," "mimesis," and "theatre as metaphor" into the recycling bin. What do you know? Not one paper survived.

When I drove the two full recycling bins of verbal wankage to the recycling center on Monday and tipped them into a dumpster, I felt a remarkable levity. My escape from academia was a really close call--I am still grateful for the awkward moment when I walked in on my lovely advisor crying in her office because the politics of the department were so fucking ugly. It was an encounter of only a few minutes, but I remember leaving there and thinking "That'll be me in 20 years if I don't get out now."
And got out I did, but seeing all those papers again, and chucking them, made me realize how different my life would be if I hadn't had that revelatory moment. I could still be blundering along producing incomprehensible babble that no one wants to read. Getting rid of the reminders of one of the more screwed up parts of your life is a wonderful way to remind you of how good your current life is.

And if you feel a hunger for academic discourse or you just don't have enough confusion in your life, check out the AADL Friends Bookshop in the coming weeks where my collection of books with titles like Dancing Modernism/Performing Politics will soon be available for purchase!


Anonymous said...

And thank God you did abandon academia, Kate, because I'd never have met you otherwise. Oh, yeah, and Ian and Fiona wouldn't exist too.

Anonymous said...

So that makes two of us Harlot-less individuals. I came by this afternoon thinking that you would have the story to tell. I missed the "A2 meeting of the knitters" due to an up north trip. Up north was swell if driving up saturday, attending a birthday party in the evening on Empire beach and returning the next day can be called swell. The beach was swell. Anyway. Bummer for us. I am enjoying your new office tales, and letting go of acedamia as well. Have at it. And isn't Avalon bread the best!?