|Dog days in Trauma City...my darling Acadia students, I now know what it's like to live in a campus residence. My condolences. No, let's put it another way. You PUSSIES. It's so easy living in a single room. No confusion. Bed, sink, closet, desk. Remember to wear towel when walking to bathroom. Remember key when leaving room...my friends Brock and Helen have a daughter, Lydia, who is off to Dal this fall. When I was at their house last week I passed her room a few times...blast zone. Utter devastation. Nuclear. Who needs computer simulations of a post-nuclear apocalypse? Good luck with the dorm room, Lydz.
I am hip-deep in dissertation. Revisions actually get easier to make each time out...not that that's what your mind allows you to think. Every little injury unknowingly inflicted by god-like committee members ("although Michael has clearly researched his topic thoroughly, the work bears little trace..."), each image from previous grinding sessions ("the last time I revised this piece of !#&*&! they found me crying in a stairwell with an empty bottle of JD"), it all comes flooding back...and then you READ it, and it SEEMS to make sense, and inwardly you give a little "yip" that it could actually happen, that there might truly be an ending to this godforsaken, endless saga of fruitless tuition payments and unwarranted thesauric digressions, that next year at this time students might actually be tentatively knocking at your office door, whispering "..Dr. Devine? May I beg a moment of your time, Doctor?" "Why yes, I, Dr. Devine, would be most pleased to grant you an...to see you. Please take a seat in the supplicants' chair."
Not the current students, of course, just the newbies. I'm realistic about the response of the students who actually know me: "So...DOCTOR...can we call you DD...Doctor Doom, heh heh...oops, excuse me, DOCTOR, I just dropped my doob on your operating table...look at him, Mags, he's a DOCTUH"...
Which is nothing less than I deserve. I'll take respect anywhere I can get it.
After two weeks in Big Smokey, certain aspects of life here have sprung out in stark contrast to the experience of the past three months. To whit...a half page article in the Toronto Star about a man who works as a sanitation expert, inspecting public bathrooms and cleaning them. First off, is that a job you rip off the tackboard at Employment Canada or wha'? Second, buddy goes on and on about how germy mens' and women's bathrooms are, using terms like "Uric acid stain" and "dribbles" and a whole little section on how to open a door without using your hands...I'm thinking no one in eastern Europe would comprehend an article like this. "It's about what? Why? Do people get sick in Canada from public bathrooms?" Well, no. But we worry about it. More or less constantly, it seems. Enough to feature half page articles in Canada's biggest circulation newspaper. Buddy advises that he never uses public restrooms himself, but that when he does, he's a"floater" - I'm not making this up - who crouches ABOVE the toilet seat. Well, that'll help. And if I'm the next guy, I'm coming after you, bub. And I'll show you some floaters.
The dormitory at Loretto College is filled with helpful reminders in this vein. Always phrased with an implicit collective "we": "Please wash your hands for the benefit of us all." It makes you want to look quickly over your shoulder. Are they watching? In the stalls they have nice printed signs: Have you flushed? Have you picked up paper off the floor? Have you put the toilet seat down, YOU LAZY, SCUM-SUCKING MALE?
I made that last one up. The good Sisters at Loretto would never use language like that. Neither would the Filipino maids, who recoil in horror when I strut down the hall in my towel, rakishly imitating Pierce Brosnan in The Matador.
I tell you, student life is some fun.
Recommended: Strangers With Candy. Horrible: Da Vinci Code. Gonna see: Bon Cop Bad Cop. It's summer, after all. All the deep meaning is going into my dissertation. It must be, otherwise how could it be 300 pages long and counting? It can't ALL be jokes.
Talk to you all soon - Europe is coming up again fast on the horizon...