Thursday, December 28, 2006

Dateless at the prom

I'm headed to the MLA today. Don't ask why. It's complicated. I feel like the girl who couldn't get a date to the prom and goes anyway, only to hang out in the corner, hoping someone will ask her to dance. Only no one does. I don't really do well at these big conferences. I'm a regional/specialist kind of conference goer. I'm debating going to the blogger meetup tonight because I'll feel like I'm an interloper. Sure I blog, but I'm not a lit person. I'm a fence straddler. I've got one foot in each court and I'm not sure I'm happy with either. I'm dreading the badge glance. You know, the look to see if you're an appropriately prestigious school. I'm dreading people casually asking what I do and upon finding out I'm not in the professoriate or potential professoriate will end the conversation quickly by saying they have a thing. Little insecure, are we?

Yes, the insecurity is part of it. But it's also that this is a life I left behind almost six years ago, a life I semi returned to when I decided to complete the Ph.D., but one I'm not sure I want to return to. There's a lot about academia I enjoy. I like discussing intellectual topics, thinking about things that no one else really thinks about. But I don't like the way that talk sometimes gets so far beyond the practical that it's laughable. I don't like the hierarchy crap, the way one's school determines where one sits on the great chain of being. Maybe I'm being too hard on the institution. Maybe it's just me.