Tuesday, December 16, 2008

San Antonio 20.11.04: Pigeons in the Cypress and Midrash Babblers

San Antonio: at Starbuck’s overlooking the river, as pigeons fly between the cypresses and then roost on the ledge of the balcony where we sit. One is tipping between my feet, its orange-brown eye cocked curiously at me, as it hopes for a handout. We’re having only coffee, unfortunately.

I’ve just seen Ellen L. and Mary Rose D’. walking arm in arm the other side of the river. Mary Rose is supporting Ellen. I’d heard the latter has Parkinson’s.

Two talking heads from AAR—babbling midrash, Talmud—behind me, talking in nasal Midwestern accents. “Are you game?” “I’m game, I’m game.” “Do you go to Princeton for this?” “The group makes all the difference.”

Beside us, a group of 20-somethings, male and female, talking about being in the Air Force and planning a hot-tub party. They probably voted for Bush.

My life is a misspent waste. I loathe the religious studies academy. I’m being supplanted in society by mindless barbarians who talk values but live Hobbes and Hugh Heffner.

I no longer have any sense at all of what brought me to the study of religion as a profession. I have no formal religious life. I write nothing. I’m involved in no scholarly dialogues.

Mark S. made a remark yesterday that cut to the quick. No one came to our workshop, and he blamed me. It was because I’m not a star, he said, as P. O’Connell K. and Jan S. are.

Thinking about it, I realize 1) he’s right, and 2) I can no longer take it. I don’t want to work at P. anymore. I’m tired—sick and tired—of existing to please others . . . . Not a word I write seems true . . . .

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