So this afternoon, though I'm in the thick of the worst cold I've had in a couple of years, I walked 10 minutes down the street to visit my colleague from another department, Eccentric Mom. We've discovered some bizarrely overlapping research interests, and monopolize each other at social events these days, buzzing about ideas for future collaborations - panels, an edited volume...So I went over today to look at some images she has gathered in her research - predictably rich and fascinating. She made lemonade for my throat.
And then we looked at her Barbie collection! Some of the dolls are on a shelf in her funky living room, but most are carefully packed away to preserve their 60s and 70s fashions. EM told me that people have given her books and articles on Barbie over the years, encouraging a scholarly interest in them. She says she's just not interested in looking at them that way - "it would take the fun out of it". I love her! Though I myself have assigned scholarly articles on Barbie, I love EM's attitude. She's a careful, committed, and politicized scholar who thinks very hard about most everything. But if there isn't room for irrational pleasure in this line of work, then what?
How fun is that for an afternoon coffee with a colleague? Work, lemonade, and Barbies?