Thursday, July 22, 2004


Ever since I turned in final grades, the weeks have been whipping by like Lance Armstrong on the L'Alpe d'Huez Where did the summer go? Summer advising (most of June) and hosting out-of-town visitors (seven and counting) gobbled up a good proportion of it. Another significant chunk we've spent (or will have spent) on the road:

Travel Tally:
• 1 conference (Wisconsin)
• 1 double date research trip (D.C. and Philly)
• 1 baby shower (Philly area)
• 2 week-long family reunions (Massachusetts, New Jersey)
• 1 best friend's wedding weekend (Baltimore area)
• 2 trips to brother's house (Richmond, VA)
• 1 visit with a friend on the occasion of his 90th b-day (Portsmouth, VA)
• 1 trip to Alleged Utopia-ville, the city we'll call home this time next year.

Ah, Alleged Utopia-ville. I should be really enjoying this summer, but for thoughts of you. Today I had another attack of massive self-doubt, this one brought on by two hours spent reading about the job market in the on-line Chronicle. By the end of the first hour, I was sighing heavily. By the end of the second, I was grasping at the curtains, struggling to stay upright. Wish I could get some sort of miracle inhaler, like those used by asthmatics. I need one that would gently mist my lungs and brain with aerosolized reassurances.

Update/P.S.: I have become enamoured of a new blog by Bitch Ph.D.. See, for example, her comments on anonymous blogging, both on her own site and at

Excerpt from the latter:
In a nutshell, I guess I’m anonymous because I’m having a very hard time reconciling my personal desires with my professional ambitions, and I don’t want to compromise the latter while I try to work it all out. And yeah, I think gender has a lot to do with it. Not just b/c women feel surveilled, but because I, at least, have seen situations...where, when women were caught between the personal and the professional, their choices were judged. It probably happens to men, too, but I’ve seen it a lot more with women—and, as a feminist, one of my biggest worries is that my unhappiness might be perceived as my “personal” problem rather than as something structural.

Amen, sister.

I would add that in my naïve, early blogging days, I didn't hesitate to sign off in an email to a fellow blogger using my real name/email address. For some reason, I felt this was more friendly and more in the spirit of a blogging community — even if (and here's the paradox) I cherish the purely virtual nature of mingling in that community. (I also only used my real info in email communications with female bloggers, because that seemed safe and in the same spirit of friendship that exists with my real-life girlfriends. I know. Naïve. But my intentions were good.) As a result of that early insouciance, now some people could know who I am...while I don't know who they are... and that feels powerfully unequal somehow. It has sometimes altered what I feel free to write here, because those few question-mark people can make noisy what was once a purely contemplative space. I try not to get uneasy about it (and I certainly respect in the right of others to remain undercover), but it does make me regret not having guarded my privacy more consistently at the start.

This is a community of molecules — few of us really responsible to or a part of each other’s lives. Okay, let me amend that: What I read on strangers' sites does become a part of my life, in an imaginary, and not insignificant, sense. Because I am affected by the choices and observations of others. And, naturally, I begin to care about them and their lives. But blogging, and especially academic-world blogging, is necessarily a masked ball. (I dislike that hackneyed metaphor, but it applies here.) In real life, those dearest to me will be the keepers of my history, and I the keepers of theirs. In blog life, there’s freedom in forgetfulness. Alone-together, we're eager to be singular, but pleased as hell at the first signs of solidarity.


At 12:36 AM, Blogger bitchphd said...

Thanks for the compliments! I too used to comment on ppl's blogs using my real name, or enough info that I could be traceable. Now that I've established The Bitch (as I think I shall fondly call her), what I've done is to wait a respectable time before commenting again, under the new name, on the same blogs. I'm not terribly worried about it: I trust the ppl whose blogs I comment on, if only b/c, well, I like their blogs. Possibly naive, as you say.

Also, nice metaphor there at the end; well said.

(And I can't believe it's the end of July either, ugh.)


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