Tuesday, March 13, 2012
What Happens to Academics on Leave
You have a dream that you meet a friend and he's headed for a conference with important people having important discussions and you say you're not going but you will wander through the book fair, and then you are doing just that, and the book fair is infinite and gleaming like the Dubai airport in your recurring dream, but before you look at a single book you run into another friend, who tells you she's just been talking to a certain important author who, unlike other authors you've written about, plays a definite role in your unconscious. She tells you that this author has had good things to say about a book about him that you're supposed to be reviewing. (This part is true - you're supposed to be reviewing this book, and you partly want to make this deadline and partly want to take some symbolic stand by not working on your leave and/or by being to enraptured with your baby to be able to.) But the part about him liking it rings false for all the obvious reasons. You ask your friend how it was she was talking to this certain important author, and she says, well, we were eating scrambled eggs. Of course they were. Then you hear some whimpering and it takes you a few minutes to realize it's not coming from the book fair but from your actual baby in his crib at the foot of his bed, yanking you back into the world Inception-style. You go to get a glass of water and are momentarily thankful that the world does not miss you.