29 July 2020

0 11/29/17, 9 pm

i landed in america, having been kicked out of the uk, and they picked me up from the airport-- a puddle of emotions in a faux fur pink coat-- and on the ride home they asked me about #metoo. and while i gave up relatively little at the time, i did tell them about the church friend of theirs who, in 2002, IN THEIR PRESENCE, at a brunch for my grandparents' anniversary, IN FRONT OF THEIR FACES, surrounded by cheesecakes, WHILE THEY WATCHED, stuck his index finger down my low-rise jeans and touched my pubic hair to make his point about how the young girls were wearing their jeans too low right now. 

i love them very much but i hate that they have no memory of this. i hate that i carry this alone. that they were there and this meant nothing to them, to the degree that they didn't even see it. 

i resent that so many of my stories are things the adults around me failed to see. 

06 July 2020

0 au revior! adieu! adiós! la revedere! Прощай!

it's odd, maybe, that i loathe goodbyes, and yet here i've hitched my-- admittedly rather dubious-- star to an industry in which one is expected to say goodbye every 3-4 months. if one is lucky. 

i'd a dreadful therapy session a few weeks ago. like really fucking bad. 

confession: as a scholar of gender, i'd had some doubts about having a male therapist when the thing i most needed to discuss was my trust issues with men. but, i swear, i truly did try to go into it with an open mind. promise.

but after he'd mansplained feelings to me and multiple times suggested that i had, perhaps, not stopped to consider that i was to blame for the responses of the people in the stories i was recounting, i felt a little let down. by him personally and also by the patriarchy, more generally. 

because, my god, what an unoriginal and ignorant thought!

i am a woman living in the world. i have a PhD in emotion. my whole academic life is about being reflexive. there is not a thought i have had nor an opinion i have openly expressed without first raking it over the coals of my brain and interrogating whether it is valid, whether i have misjudged, whether i am invalid, whether i am totally wrong. 

in all of the stories i tell myself about myself, i am the bad guy. that is the ground from which i build up. 

i thought it would take an entire session for him to condescend. it took two minutes. 

yes, he likened the shitshow in london to austin powers, which was-- in the broader scheme of things-- narratively useful. but, even so, it was quite nice when, 15 minutes in, the connection dropped and he cancelled the session. 

it was helpful, because fucking men, but also because it was a tremendous relief not to have to say goodbye. 

really, i just want to informally wander away. 

multiple times, in bidding dear friends farewell for long periods, i have literally, physically shoved them away from me. 

hard to do that with students. with students, i have to take the grief. 

just right now, we had nine working days. NINE WORKING DAYS. and still my lip quivered at one point. 

you wouldn't think you could come to love a digital roomful of twenty-four 15- and 16-year-olds in a mere nine working days, but, as i think we're all learning, you can do a hell of a lot of things online these days. 

do i just love to fall in love? do i too easily fall in love? am i just, like, predisposed to this mode of grief? the grief of an ending. the grief that accompanies the love that comes with having read someone's writing. 

more positive spin: i am a realist! i know that we may never see/speak to one another again. like jesus, i hope i will live in their hearts, but that also is not a guarantee. 

nine days online. and i do not know that, come three years from now (or, nay, even come fall), i'll be able to tell you their names, but i've read their work. i've seen their thinking.

at the end, every time, i make sure to tell them i respect them as writers, thinkers, amazing people. 

because it is the full triumvirate. 

two things emerged from the nine business days we had together.

(1) my fears about hauling my persona online were unwarranted. i can do this. even on zoom, i can play the person i need to play to get them to want to write for me and make them feel safe so they can write for one another.

(2) the kids, they are alright. they are worth living for and writing for and dying for. 

that sounds melodramatic but, surely, surely, if ever there were a melodramatic time, tis now.  

i once sat on a concluding therapy session for 27 months. this was both a refusal of an ending and also a safety net. because i didn't know what was coming, i did not know what would happen next. 

we never know what will happen next. and so we bid our farewells and say our goodbyes and we send the kids off into this big brave, awful world and sometimes they show up in our dreams or our inboxes, and their names, when they pop up, feel like a hand on home base. knowing they're still out there, still writing, that we are all of us still writing, still living, still moving ever forwards into whatever is yet to come. 

maybe i hate endings because they feel so false. because they represent a closure that isn't real. because, even if you are my student and i never see you on campus next semester or hear from you ever again, still we had that moment. you were there, as was i. and, together, we did something that mattered. we started work that never ends.

01 July 2020

0 doctors in the city

there’s what is perhaps best described as "a protrusion" on my chest. not a lump; not in the breast. but something has happened and there is an aspect of my body that was not there before.

 

i tell my mother about this a month ago, and she says, you know some bodies are just asymmetrical, and i say, but i’m 39, and i feel like i maybe, kinda would’ve noticed this by now.

 

the protrusion: it is 1.5 inches long and approximately 1 cm deep? wide? how does one describe distance from one's usual chest cavity? (full disclosure: i have not yet gotten out the measuring tape from miss pixie’s so all figures are approximate.)

 

the protrusion: again, it’s not in the breast tissue, and it feels like bone.

 

my aunt, the nurse, requests a tit pic and i oblige. quickly, she weighs in. it is probably inflammation.

 

she shares the tit pic with my uncle, the orthopedic. he weighs in; based on the location, above the breast tissue, maybe it is chondritis.

 

truly, never did i imagine this level of sexting with my relatives.


truly, never did i imagine that the step that follows sexting with my relatives would be a tele-visit with a doctor i've never met, wherein i repeatedly pull down my shirt. 

 

voluntarily, i reveal my silhouette on camera so the doctor can access whatever this is from afar.


two weeks later, debo, whose pandemic brain means she keeps forgetting i am an adult, calls up and says, YOU MUST SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE DOCTOR NOW!!! 


she was so preoccupied waiting for the delivery of the glasses she ordered from warby parker a month ago that she has forgotten that i have already talked with a doctor and that that doctor referred me to another doctor, who will be seeing me either on-camera or IRL in two weeks time. 


we're feeling extra-summer season of 90210 right now. the drama's all a bit forced and lazy. 


everyone says it's probably nothing. i keep saying it's probably nothing, even as i sit with the reality that the primary symptom of whatever it is is a burning when i breathe. which is often. and which is especially awful in forward fold. 


this is, OF COURSE, the ideal time to start dating. obvi. 


because, due to the pandemic, it means one gets to have conversations about sanitation and exclusivity ludicrously early, paired with, due to past relationships with men, conversations about violent sex and betrayal, mixed with, due to the protrusion, conversations about what appears to be a casually raging ibruprofen addiction and an incredibly sexy non-breast tissue, bone-like business. 


for who among us is not turned on by that cocktail?! indeed.  


0 one month


that this majestic nut and i have been co-habitating. 

ridiculously decadent tuxedo cat named claude

25 June 2020

0 stupidly, i thought i could do it all

this is the only explanation for why i have a full day of teaching, followed by a phone interview, a zoom, interview, and then am heaving all 14 lbs of claude up 14th street to the vet for the wellness check that was a condition of his adoption. 

it always seems so smart to put all of the things on one day. whycome it isn't until that day dawns that my past self that thought that is revealed to have been the stupidest ever possible version of my self? 

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22 June 2020

0 dear people!

sometimes i am so dense!!! i didn't realize how much i missed the kids, then i read 15 out of 24 of their blurbs about themselves and saw their shining faces in their various environs on zoom, and, for the first time in 102 days, i felt like the human being i like to be-- refreshed, exhilarated, flush from having performed. 

i did a phd under the proviso that i didn't want to teach, only to discover that teaching is the only thing short of the stage that gives me life. 

the fireworks go off every night and, every time they do, claude runs to sit on the toilet. god knows why that is his coping mechanism, but i am not one to judge, because my coping mechanism is turning up the volume of mary tyler moore.

one of them told us he did it. after a week of planning, he bought 1,000 tickets to trump's rally in tulsa, and i lean back in the ghost chair that i bought from a girl for $10 last december, bought it in the rain and she was about to move back to memphis, i lean back in this entirely inappropriate chair because claude has laid claim to the chair that came with the desk but now sits against the mirror as his throne, and i think, maybe, just maybe, we're going to be ok. 

because the kids are so fucking cool, ya'll. we are so fucking blessed, because they are so fucking cool.

20 June 2020

0 365 days ago

i came to DC to house-sit for seven weeks. my ticket only went one way. 

it was three weeks with the lioness of cleveland park, four weeks with the pit bull in takoma. 

and then, slowly, house by house, cat by cat, job by job, i oozed into a life in this silly town. 

and lo! here we are. i have a cat and a flat in a pandemic, 264 days at-large out in the city followed by 101 at home. 


19 June 2020

0 zoomed

i've been stridently avoiding zoom, because i knew there would come a time where zoom would be unavoidable and i didn't want to be zoomed out when that time arrived. 

that time was scheduled to arrive next week. and yet, somehow, it came a week early and, already, i am like, NO MORE. 

this maybe isn't entirely zoom's fault and has more to do with the fact that the zooms being had this week, ultimately, make no fucking sense. 

if it is hard to wrap one's brain around the fact that one is seeing actual people in these brady bunch boxes, it is even harder to wrap one's brain around the things they are asking us to believe and do. 

we are opening for the fall! we are teaching face to face! we are having three class meetings in the whole semester! there are only 23 rooms on campus that can hold 20 socially distanced students! there are 160 rooms that can hold 4! fall break is cancelled (but not really)! everyone will go home at thanksgiving! we are going to give students a real life college experience! the students have told us this is what they want! we'll all be totally safe!  

NONE OF THIS SOUNDS POSSIBLE OR TRUE, RIGHT? 

(in the pandemic days of yore, back when i was in the vocabulary business, i made a video on cognitive dissonance, so if you're like oline, i need a pep talk from you in big glasses and a sequin muumuuhere ya go.) 

this was all conveyed in a departmental zoom session, led by our acting summer department head, who looks like alfred molina and whose zoom background made it appear he was broadcasting from the red light district. 

my question about developing protocols for when we or our students fall ill remained unacknowledged in the chat. which reassures me greatly, for sure. 

i interviewed for a teaching gig the other day (on zoom, obvi) and, speaking as someone who has done this, i would not recommend it. because, in the best of times, the mental gymnastics involved in communicating how you would teach a class you've never taught are strenuous. and these are not the best of times. 

communicating how you would teach a class you've never taught in a global pandemic at an institution that is claiming it will be delivering teaching F2F come fall is really fucking dumb. 

sample question: what museums or plays might you take the class to?

PLAYS?!??!!??!!??!?!?!?!!?!?!!!!

for real. 

i do not feel i am tooting my own horn when i say i deserve some sort of pandemic special category of oscar for the performance i gave of someone who was not laugh/crying/screaming on the inside whilst delivering an answer on my plans for taking a group of 60 students to the kennedy center next fall. 

it was an answer that would have sounded excellent in a world that no longer exists and which feels completely deranged in the world we live in now. 

the kennedy center is not open, nor is it likely to be. there are no productions, there are no plays. mass gatherings of more than ten people are prohibited. 

last march, i honestly didn't believe things could ever be handled much worse in higher education than they were at that point. i was wrong. 

the intellectual exercise of... what?-- chicken? capitalism? survival of the fittest? existential denial?-- that we are engaged in right now is the most profoundly fucked up thing i've ever witnessed. it will not end well. 

0 so you're looking for ways to help and things to do?

08 June 2020

0 on a lighter note

i will be laughing allllllllllllllllllllll day.

04 June 2020

0 ooops, i forgot

MEET CLAUDE!!!!! 





(and did i also, until just now, entirely forget that i had a giant furry blanket in london that i previously endowed with this name? why yes, yes, i did.)

0 #DCstatehoodnow

against our mayor's wishes, DC- the home of 700,000 people who are taxed but do not have representation in congress- is currently being occupied by national guard from utah, ohio, south carolina, indiana, new jersey, maryland, and tennessee. (virginia, new york, pennsylvania, and delaware declined- thanks, guys). 

in addition to DC police, US secret service, US park police, DC national guard, bureau of prisons, FBI, the drug enforcement agency (DEA), the department of homeland security (DHS), immigrations and customs enforcement (ICE), US customs & border protection (CBP), TSA, US marshals, pentagon force protection, fort bragg/fort drum active duty troops, and other law enforcement without IDs have been on our streets this week. 

dear americans, if you could be so kind, please remember this the next time someone disparages "washington" to win your vote. 

01 June 2020


24 May 2020

0 i seldom miss london

being booted out of a country will do that to you. 

but, nonetheless, the scanning of the west london skyline from the abbey tower of my old church for ascension tide sure did make my heart clench. 



19 May 2020

0 jackie dead day

last year, i was alone in mississippi on burvil's farm, doing weepy yoga practices for broken hearts and lifting my fists to the heavens, throwing curses towards the shitshow in london. 

this year, we no longer have the farm and i'm alone in DC, in my own apartment, having assigned the blog post i wrote last year to my students during a global pandemic. 

exciting times! 

i feel i've never been further from jackie than i am right now. which is hilariously not true since her photograph surrounds me and i am, currently, writing an article about the stupid movie.

but i do feel somehow disconnected from her story, a story that has sustained me for decades. is this maybe a protective detachment? aren't we all keeping our space from certain things we love for fear of never wanting to encounter them again when this is all over? we avoid them for now lest we ruin them from the future. 

maybe it's that. maybe it's not that i've outgrown her. 

i worry that i've outgrown her, but then i also know that if someone dropped a publishing contract on my desk tomorrow, i'd be ALL IN. so it's probably not that. it's probably defensive. it'll probably be ok. 




14 May 2020

0 i worry that i've lost it

that i no longer know my shit. 

but then, working on an article, i google "jackie kennedy life magazine 6 december 1963" and my ability to recall, without pause, the date of publication for jackie's camelot interview is terribly reassuring. 

maybe i'm not so far removed from the story as i feared.

0 the eaton family glassware competition

debo LOOOOOOOOOVES glasswares. 

belatedly, i'm realizing this appears to be hereditary, as i have, in these last months, acquired a formidable collection of drinking receptacles. enough to outfit a party of ten were we to switch to new drinks thrice. 

an especially hilarious tally given i sit in my apartment alone.

for debo, who has had a lifetime of glass, this is about re-acquiring that with which she previously parted. the dishes of my childhood, for example, being a set which featured the most appropriately sized cereal bowl she has ever encountered in her life. a circumstance of which she was unaware when she relinquished them in 1987 (i wondered at the time, who has purple dishes? she tells me) and fully appreciates now. 

i, in contrast, am just pleased as punch to be utilizing actual glass and dishes with heft after nearly a decade of eating of picnic-wares and melamine. 

so the latest thing is the coups. she found a set and sent photos and because they were pink and pink is my thing and i've a notable lack of coups of my own, shortly thereafter a pair arrived at my door step. 

an lo, thence commenced a glassware duel, wherein i was bested by wine and desserts. 

what you have to realize is that debo always wins.






29 April 2020

0 teaching

my student who has been writing about matthew mccaughnehey (a name i still cannot spell), for her creative response project, made CUSTOMIZED BONGO DRUMS WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AND WEED LOGOS ON TOP AND "ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ALRIGHT" DOWN THE SIDES.

my work here is done.


26 April 2020

0 WE ARE LIVING THROUGH HISTORY


the toilet was fucked up. i stood over it, said, not today, satan, and i swear to god it was fixed. 

does this mean that when i die from a cerebral hemorrhage having fallen and hit my head after catching my heel in my shag carpet that they'll saintify me? probably not, but a girl can dream. 

it seems only right that i be the patron saint of plumbing given my love of that 70s plumbing exhibit at the museum of science and industry. 

garebear called the other day with a new revelation: WE ARE LIVING THROUGH HISTORY. 

why it took him six weeks of quarantine and contemplation to arrive at this quite obvious fact, i remain unsure. 

i think he often forgets i am a historian. and i don't think me appealing to the devil to heal a toilet was a part of the great history through which we are living that he had in mind. 

19 April 2020

0 this is what it feels like to be teaching college right now



it was very overcast. the clouds hung very low.

i think it was probably a thursday. one of the thursdays where i did three shows and then i took my #adjunctfashion and my sore knee home and i collapsed, ate a giant bowl of pasta and watched vanderpump rules for three hours to decompress before falling into bed. 

the thing i remember is experiencing such a sense of relief, as i walked up the hill out of campus, past the national basicalla, past the nuns and the priests, towards the metro, for what may have been the last time.

i remember so little.

but i do remember the relief. though i do not specifically remember why, on that particular day. beyond maybe the fact that i felt like they were finally all on board, or at least a plurality. we'd reached the tipping point in the semester where, by the sheer force of my personality, i had won them over.

they wanted to write for me. they were ready, i had primed them, i had put in the work and i had earned their trust and they were ready to write for me. it was going to be a good year.

or it maybe wasn’t even that much. 

it was maybe only that i made a joke in my last class and i saw more than three people laugh. 

but i was leaving the building, and the sky was very grey and the clouds hung very low and i passed one student and she said hello and wished me a happy weekend, and i saw…

but i’m conflating two overcast days. 

one day where i saw a particular student slowly walking up the hill and i passed her and wished her a happy weekend and another day where i stayed later (was this the last day? what is wrong with me that i can not remember the end?) to talk to another student about her current situation and then later i saw that same student, from the other day, in the distance, putting her stuff in her car. 

and i remember thinking, for whatever reason, this matters. what we're doing here, it really matters.

it's terribly important, our being together, in the classroom, on tuesdays and thursdays, face to face. 

this is what i have taken away from it all, from those first two months where we did not know what was coming. those two months when we all sat in a room together and we did not know yet what was going to happen to us. 

there were a lot of overcast days, it seems, in retrospect. 

that may or may not be accurate. 

but i remember her. i’ve conflated the days but she is in both of them and it’s such a vivid memory. 

i think about her often in the daylight, that student, this memory, as the sun filters through my sequins. 

i dream i have a sore throat but i’ve not dreamed about her. 

i dream i go out and about without a mask and i do not know why but i spend all of my dreams explaining that i know better, that i have a mask that debo made for me and i wear it always now in real life though i do not know why it is not with me now, in my dreams.

it matters, what we're doing here.

i dream these dreams and i wake up alone inhaling, deeply, and then i get coffee and i read for a bit and, later, i fall back asleep and then i awake and i gather myself and i try to teach my AU kids something about celebrity that gives them permission to have feelings about what they're experiencing right now, i try to give them permission to be human, and i read the rants from my trinity girls and i record a "word of the day" video for them in which i try to use vocabulary in a way that will help them process whatever the fuck it is that is going on with them.

i’ve dreamed i was teaching a class in person and awoke feeling tremendously pleased, but i do not remember there actually being students in the room. 

i was in a room, but none of my students were there. all of these people, whose attention i have for one more week. i dreamed about our class but they were already gone. already they had left me. 

i am scared about what happens when the semester is over. i am scared what happens when we have to let go. 

this happens every semester. there's a tremendous amount of grief involved in letting go of all of the people in that room. 

i've already let go of the rooms. i've not let go of the people. 

no one talks about this!!! why?!??! can we please talk about this???! dear teachers, i need us to talk about this!!!!

i do not remember this from when i was a student. i have come to expect it every semester as a teacher.

it has been like nothing else this semester, because i already did it once. already dealt with the fact that we will never be as we were when we were last together. 

we will never be together in that room again. 

we will never be in that room again. 

they will, most likely, never be in my life again. 

i may never see them again. 

in therapy, it was repeatedly reenforced that i am terrible at endings. 

i’ve so many memories of the last classes i have taught. they feel like life and death. 

this semester though, it has never before felt so much like life and death. 

i know i only teach composition, rhetoric, but people, words are life and death.

i've had versions of this before. students who were gay and homeless, students who experienced loss, students who lost their home and their housing and were raising their kids out of their cars and who i met at starbucks to administer an exam so they could just make it through the class.

it was hard enough as it was.

IT. WAS. HARD. ENOUGH. AS. IT. WAS.

but this.

THIS.

my sweet lord.  

i know about their home lives, their boyfriends and their siblings and parents, i know that the power has been out in their homes for three weeks, i know they are queer and that they do not feel accepted by their mothers, that they can’t focus, can’t sleep, can’t eat, eat too much, feel guilty, feel lazy, feel so so so so so so sad though they do not know why. i know that they want to go outside, that they went to the grocery, went to the fish market before the mayor shut it down, can’t write their essays, are sick of being in the dorms, can’t handle the loneliness, want to write a book, are doing yoga, are working out for three hours every morning, can’t get over a sinus infection, lost a grandparent, have a grandmother in the hospital, can’t go to the funerals of the five people they know who died last week. 

i know all of this and, twice a week, i put on a face full of make-up and some sequin outfit that i dedicate to someone on instagram and i make a fucking vocabulary building video that i post to youtube.

and there’s a semester to be ended still. 

there is a whole week to be got through. 

and i do not see an end to this.

honestly, i do not see how we ever recover from them having lost this much. 

09 April 2020

0 true story

for legit like a solid half hour i saw this thing outside my window, through the sequins, and thought, omg, how lovely. someone in the building who has a child has got them a glittery balloon or a kite or something to play with in the alley. people are the best!!!! 

reader, it was fucking garbage bag.

albeit a garbage bag doing ballet in today's aggressive winds, BUT STILL.





08 April 2020

0 an actual conversation steven and i just had when i told him i now have an ability to do laundry



s: but it's not like you have that much since you don't wear underwear.

o: excuse me?

s: well, you don't wear underwear... wait, do you?

o: um... yeah.

s: like every day?

o: yeah, mostly.

s: oh, i didn't know that.

o: huh... WAIT.

s: yeah?

o: how long have you been assuming i don't wear underwear?

s: since chicago. AT LEAST.

o: like 2012 chicago or 2007 chicago?

s: 2007 chicago, definitely.

03 April 2020

0 9/11-13



i've been thinking about 9/11 a lot lately.

this isn't all that original. a lot of people my age and older, americans especially, have been thinking about 9/11 lately because it's the thing we have to compare COVID to. even though, really, ultimately, this is nothing like that.

i was far, far from new york city, and didn't know anyone directly affected at the time (my parents were at a conference across the street from the pentagon but they were obviously fine). as opposed to this thing we're in now, where we all are being directly affected, we are all losing something and, unless we are very very lucky, we are all likely to lose someone.

but i've been thinking about 9/11 in the context of teaching. remembering that day and the days after and how my teachers reacted.

most of my students now are freshmen. most of them were not alive in 2001. the stories i'm hearing from them are astonishing, full-stop. but the stories about their teachers have made no sense to me.

but then i think back on my teachers and their reactions, which were, in many ways, for various reasons, pretty bizarre.

***

there was, of course, the blue of the sky. (that's what everyone remembers though, from new york to california to mississippi, bluest sky we ever saw.)

but there was also the anthropology professor who held his class as though it was business as usual.

he taught as though there weren't a television playing the news at high volume one room over.

he taught as though we weren't all hearing the south tower collapsing on that television.

he taught despite the screams we could all hear coming from that other room.

i have no fucking clue what he taught us that day. but i do remember that, when a student stood up and went to leave the room, the professor told that student his absence would be unexcused.

***

my next class was with my favorite professor. 20th century english/irish poetry.

i shit you not, we were reading w.b. yeats's "the second coming."

we did a close reading of that poem, and nary a word was said about what was happening in NYC (much less DC and PA).

it was only in the next class that we would learn that our professor had not yet heard the news. she did not say anything, did not see the parallels, because she did not know.

i don't remember how that next class went.

i do remember that, a year later, i'd hear her give a speech where she remembered this class and expressed her surprise that we covered that poem in that context and no one said a word.

it's interesting to me in retrospect, especially as a teacher, that this was something we did not feel empowered to do. there were very clear parallels to be drawn. but, lacking her explicit permission, likely assuming that she was concealing her true feelings from us and pretending nothing had happened, we too played along.

given the angst i experienced in wearing a mask to the grocery store for the first time yesterday, i can imagine the emotional cocktail of terror, embarrassment, and fear of being accused of over-reaction that might have inhibited us then.

after jfk was murdered, jackie told the journalist dorothy schiff that it was like all the pieces had changed places.

i like that image. in that classroom on 9/11, it was like we didn't know the game we were playing and all we could do was behold the board.

it's possible i'm making too much of it, that performance. there could well have been other people in that room who also didn't yet know what was happening, who hadn't heard.

whatever the case, those of us who knew (and, surely, it wasn't just me by that point in the day), we said nothing.

that said, how do you break the news of 9/11?

***

this meant that, the following day, when a professor did acknowledge the occurrence of 9/11, it felt entirely overblown.

i can't even remember what the class was, but it was some history class where we read machiavelli and the decameron. (pretty sure we were reading the decameron then...) the middle ages, maybe?

the professor was a grizzled, older guy, one of those norman mailer types that clearly wishes they lived in new york city but have somehow, due to the vagaries of the academic job market and tenure, wound up teaching in mississippi for thirty years. of all my professors, he was the only one that wore jeans.

on wednesday, september 12th, he came into the classroom.

he knew people in new york, he told us. and so he would not be teaching, he said.

he stood at the top of the room, and read a poem.

i'm 99% certain it was dylan thomas's "do not go gentle into that good night."

he read that poem and then, without another word, he left the room.

and we all ran out into the sunshine overjoyed that class was cancelled and we suddenly had 50 unexpected minutes free.

i wonder about that sentence now. i know people in new york. like, people who lived there? or people who worked in the WTC? i don't know. he didn't say and, in the next class, it was like it never happened.

***

after 9/13/01, i have no memory of any other mention of 9/11 in my remaining two years of undergraduate classes.

it was like it never happened.