Saturday, June 14, 2008

don't let this happen to you

Hi hi hi!

It's been a while. But you already know I'm Worst Blogger Alive, so I know you already have low expectations.

Of course, the best thing to get me out of my writing silence is complaining about other people!*

This one is kind of stale but it's all I've got, other than "blah blah, my puppy is sooooo cute, blah blah". If that was enough for you, go on, read Garfield minus Garfield or whatever it is that my readers usually read.

So a couple of weeks ago, I was invited out to a farewell party for this woman I've met a few times. It was at this hip Chinese-fusion kind of restaurant in town, the kind where the food is great and the coolest kids in town know the owners and the wait staff by name, and they all invite each other to each other's gigs and there's always some local hipster's art on the walls. You know that kind of place.

I was surrounded by Masters and PhD students. They're all studying interesting things, all working on looking at things from not very mainstream angles (like how power works, how governments are guiding and shaping human life, how we are shaping our own lives and participating in structures of power) and most of them are interested in some way improving the world, making things more fair or better for other people. Really, all the ingredients were there for some interesting conversations. YOU'D THINK.

See, I'm pretty friendly and curious and can usually have some kind of conversation with just about anybody. But could I get these people to talk? Well, yes, a little, about themselves, with the subtext being "I don't think you'll understand my work. It's very involved."

One guy there is currently working on self-government issues for First Nations in Canada, and when I said, "Neat. So what specifically drew you to study that?" hoping to hear about his passion for his work, or the aspects he finds most challenging, he looked at me like I'd just asked him how he felt about his mother working the back alley for fifty cents a trick.

Stunned by the silence around our end of the table (weren't these people supposed to be friends with each other?), I tried the American guy to my left, who's studying how agricultural policy has changed over the last few decades and what it reflects about power and government, and what and how much different countries grow as a result of policy, and how we eat. Maybe boring to some, but I'm a pretty big nerd and would have loved to hear more about what he has been learning.

Did my line of questioning get anywhere, even after I mentioned I'd worked for a prof who did related work to help indicate that I would get it? No. That's because apparently everything I said somehow came through his internal narcissistic translator as "I am so hot for you", which left him confused as to why I was hitting on him in front of my boyfriend.**

Then I tried everything - summer plans, anyone? Anyone read or see anything good lately? How about some silly quips about the cheap house wine? Pulse? Consciousness? Is this thing on?

Nobody asked me or my companion ANYTHING about ourselves, not even how we knew the guest of honour. Finally I sank into a silent rage and aggressively worked on finishing the wine.

MESSAGE TO GRAD STUDENTS ACROSS THE LAND:
I know what you're doing is underpaid and goes largely unrespected, but please put an end to the douchebaggery.

Thank you.

-------
* It would be a lie to say that I've become more positive and that's the reason for my most recent lacuna.

** Dude, it's called conversation. I'm just a crude civilian, remember? If I'd been hitting on you, I would have been suggesting we head to the back alley and have a threesome with the other dude's mom. (Maybe if you mentioned you were studying agriculture from a Foucauldian perspective she'd give us a two-fer-one?)

3 Comments:

At June 17, 2008 2:10 PM, Blogger sgazzetti said...

Graduate schools exist to ensure that the world will never suffer the horror of a shortage of people who take themselves too fucking seriously.

 
At June 18, 2008 12:22 PM, Blogger The Dude said...

Maybe if they had access to this, they'd have more time and energy to be sociable?
http://www.gingko.ch/cdrom/jwrandom/postmodernism/

 
At July 07, 2008 10:42 PM, Blogger gord said...

Oh, I so wish I was there. We could have got them going. We could have had the First Nations guy working with the food guy and the politics guy working with the power guy, then you'd get out your banjo, I'd do some math and we'd have a ho down'

I miss talking to you about EVERYTHING. miss miss miss

 

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