My American Childhood

Today I finally got to sit in the bleachers with a boy I like. Of course, the boy is my husband of many years and bleachers are in our daughter’s new school, but it’s better late than never to have the experience.

If you are an immigrant and miss having memories of an American childhood and adolescence, you can experience it all vicariously if you have a child. Highly recommended for this and many other reasons.

I Miss Being Human

I can’t wait for colleagues to come back to work in person. It’s hard to be Chair when everybody is far away. I want to be able to come by a person’s office and ask a question, make a suggestion, say something, etc. Right now, I have to set up a Zoom meeting for every little question that arises. Of course, people get nervous when I ask to schedule a meeting, then they spend the first 10 minutes feeling defensive while I’m explaining that they aren’t in trouble, it’s all good, I just want some advice on the T-shirt design.

Yes, I could do email but everybody is exhausted by email. I want to be able to knock on a friend’s door and say, “hey, do you want to hear something ridiculous?” And then we laugh together and gossip for a while and feel energized for the rest of the day. I miss speaking Spanish, I miss hearing foreign languages around me. And I’m really, really, really tired of screenshots. I want to come across a great quote and go stick the page under somebody’s nose, saying, “read this! Cool, huh?”

We have several new and very troubling initiatives from the administration that I want to discuss with colleagues. I just want to have a normal, unmediated, sincere conversation with somebody. I want to feel human again. I want somebody to be there to notice my new outfit or my new hair color. I want to bitch and laugh and make salty jokes. I want to go for coffee with somebody. I’m planning a completely new course on computer-assisted translation and I’ve started to give long monologues about it to myself because my thinking patterns are very dialogical. I need to address my ideas to somebody and hear feedback.

I even miss the boring department meetings because there would always be something funny to observe and then talk about. Talk! I want to talk! To people! Full-bodied people, not screen heads.

This sucks, people. This really sucks.

The Cerulean Sweater Theory

There’s this great scene in The Devil Wears Prada where a frumpy intern at a fashion magazine scoffs at fashion because it’s unimportant and she’s too cool to care. The editor of the magazine explains to the intern how her “cool and independent” clothing choices are controlled by the very fashion world she so much despises. The clothes that the intern wears are bastardized, cheap versions of big fashion trends. She’s been paying the fashion people she scoffs at forever and never knew it.

It’s the same thing with wokeness. You can ridicule it as a crazy fad that only exists on college campuses. But in reality, you’ve been paying for the bastardized, idiotic versions of those fads for years and they are everywhere in your life.