最近（而且它是一个很长，无聊，无关紧要的故事，以及它的意见）我读了一个渴望亲眼遇到另一个人的人。鉴于目前的大流行情况，对方对此感到不舒服。咆哮是为了回应“谢谢但不谢谢，我不想见到”消息，并开始几乎要求出于怜悯的会议，因为他们是如此孤独，并且有这么艰难的一年。但是咆哮的咆哮中有一条线：“我只是不明白你是如何疯狂而不是看到朋友，甚至没有在线日期。为什么你不难避免餐馆和酒吧 - 你不喜欢那个吗？“
我on’t know why. It doesn’t really matter why. But that really resonated with me.
Because I’m not going insane, relatively-speaking, by not seeing friends. Because I am fine with the concept (and reality) of online dating. Because I enjoy restaurants and bars, but also it’s not been hard for me to avoid them. Why? Why I do I match perfectly with this blatant, wanted-but-detested, misunderstood anathema? I realized a LOT of why these are my truths is because of academia.
And so, here is my thank-you to academia for helping immensely in making quarantine and isolation not seem so bad.
This year is the first time since 2014 I’ve had friends that aren’t colleagues that live in the same STATE, let alone general area, let alone time zone. Thanks to you, academia, I’ve had to live in five states in five years—I’ve gotten used to not having many connections, or having those connections not be local. I don’t miss having brewskis with my broskis because that’s not been a luxury of mine.
I’m used to not seeing my friends in person. My closest non-academic friend I talk to 1-2 times a week on the phone, but I only see him maybe once a year and always when I’ve come home for some holiday because he doesn’t really travel. I’m in an online bookclub with about half a dozen friends from undergrad—but we live in four different time zones, so we have zero intention of actually seeing each other ever. Thanks to you, academia, from 2012-2020 I was in almost nothing but long-distance relationships and with other academics to boot—I’m used to not getting a hug or a kiss everyday. I’ve gone weeks without any physical human contact. I’m used to feeling LUCKY to see significant others in the flesh once a month. I’m long past the time of missing date nights because I can’t remember the last time I had regular date nights.
我习惯于假期经常毁了。战s would be in January. The JMM would be in January and I’d be on the market. I’d have a first-round phone interview right before Christmas. I’d be depressed all of those years regardless because of the reality of those situations. And forget about Christmas. I can’t tell you how many Mother’s Days I missed because of conferences or “required” faculty commencements (and my mother was only 1-4 hours away at the time). And so over the years I’ve had to learn to make holidays whenever I can. I’ve had to accept it’s not about the date but it’s about the people and simply being around them and appreciating them. It could be the 25th of December, or it could be the 19th of August or 23rd of June.
Because subsequently Thanksgiving alone honestly wasn’t that bad. I Zoomed with friends. I Zoomed with family. And that was more than I’ve had many non-pandemic years. It actually was a calm day with good food, good wine, and good conversation.
Maybe my life before the pandemic seemed pretty pitiful. Not seeing loved ones. Not seeing friends. Moving constantly. “Living” in less than ideal places. Having holidays ruined emotionally and mentally if not also geographically. Certainly many non-academic friends have expressed concern in the past about my career choice.
The one thing I suppose I have not addressed is why it’s been so easy for me to stay away from restaurants and bars. Because, honestly, academics do a nontrivial amount of eating out after colloquiums and during conferences and a lot of the JMM (for instance) is socializing. What makes this easy isn’t directly a result of academia, though it is a direct result of where I currently work (which is academia…and not…at the same time).
So a half-thanks on this.
At least a third of my colleagues and all of my students are active military. Many are used to and/or anticipate spending months at a time submerged under water in a submarine. My military colleagues absolutely love their jobs here because they get to go home every night and see their kids—many have talked about missing the first x years of their kids’ lives due to deployment.
对于许多包括自己，包括自己的平民，在这样的地方工作具有特殊的家庭意义。由于抑郁症，我的祖父被迫拒绝了他的观点。虽然他后来作为上校入伍并退休，但他只想去服务学院，我是唯一一个相对于“被接受”。并提醒自己这意味着对我的家人来说，也表明我的学生作为一个非常明显的民用的军事联系，突出显示在我的办公室之一，是他的铜牌之一，突出了证书如何突出它是如何获得“英雄主义ground combat” in France in 1944. To remind myself even at home why I leave for work at 0630 and sometimes don’t get home until 1700, I have by my front door one of his legions of merit earned for exceptional services executed during the Korean War.
My colleagues and my grandfather have made unbelievable sacrifices to try actively to ensure the safety of others. They have missed seeing their own families for years. They have missed holidays. They have lived in sub-standard situations. Moreover: they have been shot at. They have seen friends and comrades die gruesome deaths. They have seen horrors like battle and liberation of concentration camps and other events that I wouldn’t even want to begin to imagine. Again, all in a quest to try to keep others safe; all in an attempt to do “the right thing.”
And what am I being asked to do to help my fellow man right now? What am I being told is “the right thing”? Literally all I have to do is Netflix and chill until further notice.
So thank you, academia, for getting me where I am now and for helping me realize how easy even you have been. Thank you for making me recognize and even angered at how pitiful people are for feeling sorry for themselves, for feeling antsy for not being able to go out and see their friends. Thank you for making me capable of “dropping the mic” with colleagues in truthfully saying “I have not been to a grocery store since March” and having their eyebrows rise and, despite the face masks I’m sure, their jaws drop.
I’d say I owe you, academia, but we both know that’s not exactly true.