Friday, July 21, 2006

Retreat

Last night GF and I went out for dinner with some friends we haven’t seen in months. I just love this couple, and am thrilled that they’re expecting a baby after trying for too, too long to get pregnant.

This couple, K and J, met during their PhDs. K is finishing now, while pregnant, and J dropped out a couple of years back – to become a firefighter! She got a lot of flak from friends about this decision, but I’ve always thought it was great – it seems a good fit, to me, and who am I to criticize, anyway? She’s been waiting since then for her training to start, and it recently has. Talking with her about it last night was a revelation. I really realized for the first time the strength this takes from her. Not only is there all that’s emotionally required to deal with trauma and risk and, sometimes, death. There’s also what it means for her, as a woman – and a lesbian – entering this profession that’s notoriously sexist and homophobic. She’s finding that alienating, but she’s persevering with some hope – and even finding the good in it. Like the strong union.

I see people like J sometimes, people who inhabit the same world from me and yet also a very different one, and I think: I don’t know from hard. I must remember to remember her when I am whining about being buried under an avalanche of grading, or feeling pressured to publish. At least I don’t have to balance death and destruction, risks to my own life, and potentially hateful colleagues whom I have to trust to save me in a deadly situation.

(And you know I don't mean this in any kind of rah-rah, anti-intellectual way...)

***

The world really feels apocalyptic right now, does it not?

This evening, GF and Mr. K and I are leaving for a week in a borrowed-from-my-aunt cabin in the woods. The past week or two has felt so obscenely foreboding around the world that there is, frankly, a tiny worry at the back of my mind that we’re going to emerge from the woods into a very different world from the one we’re retreating from.

At any rate, we shall retreat. I’m bringing plenty of work with me…to do in between G&T’s on the dock, five swims a day, pans of brownies, the book Loren recommended to me the other day, and the first season of a what promises to be a thrillingly trashy British lesbian show called Sugar Rush. This is sure to put me back on track - ha! To hold myself accountable in the face of such distractions, let me bloggily promise to:
1. complete a book review that I’ve said I will submit by August 4
2. properly read and make notes on another book I’ve agreed to review. Create plan for not tearing it to pieces in the review.
3. emerge with some semblance of a coherent plan for the article I once told myself I would write by September 1, the one that’s been responsible for my slump over the last ten days or so…

When I come back, perhaps I will have an intelligent thought in my head again!

1 comment:

MaggieMay said...

Have a great trip. Your retreat sounds a lot more fun than mine will be...