Wednesday, January 28, 2009


So I decided to leave the house last Friday. But I didn't do anything exciting. I made two separate visits to the public library (I was also at the library today), spent two dollars on a really shitty cup of iced coffee (It's January here and last week it was fucking 80 degrees outside. And! There were bizarro women wearing scarves and coats. WTF?) I then proceeded to a talk held in the Communication building of my alma mater. I recently attended a very interesting talk given by Michele Norris of NPR and because I miss having my brain tickled thought I would give another on campus talk a go. Customarily I would not care to be caught dead on that campus, but more on that another time. The talk was called Challenging Academia's Conventional Wisdom, and the description of the talk was as follows:

"Universities have developed protections for academic freedom, but in practice scholarly disciplines tend to establish a canon and institutionalize a conventional wisdom. What happens when scholars challenge these conventions, in terms of theory, methodology, or practice? What are the consequences of pursuing critical inquiry? What strategies are most effective inpursuing a controversial research agenda in academic life?"

The organizer of the talk was a radical Journalism professor of some local note called Robert Jensen. In addition to Dr. Jensen were a Communication Studies and Sociology professor. I overheard the Sociology professor say that she'd just returned from a trip to San Francisco. Color me jealous. All ascribe to what they termed “activist scholarship”. It was a small gathering. There were around twenty people, all graduate students, and all very full of themselves. I continue to hold fast to the delusion that I may one day return to school for a graduate degree, but it usually only takes a couple of minutes with graduate students for me to rethink that idea. So much blah blah with so little substance to speak of. I'm decidedly turned off by the aloofness which pervades so much of the academy. Who knows? I may eventually overcome this aversion, get my shit together, and become Tiffany, PhD. It could happen. Anyway, at one point in the discussion yours truly decided to ask a question. Mostly because no one else was raising their hand to do so. After I asked my question the moderator of the discussion asked me what “field” I was in. I panicked. I couldn't blurt out, “I'm actually unemployed. I just enjoy attending graduate colloquia in my spare time.” So instead I said, “American Studies.” And they bought it. I should probably feel bad about lying. But I don't. I was just as (if not more) intelligent as the rest of the people in that room. Come on, how often do I pay myself compliments? I posed what I believed to be a very substantive inquiry. I just hope I don't run into of the people from that classroom. Ever. I don't really like fibs.

On the bright side, I was made aware of some other upcoming events to keep me busy. I went to one tonight. Economist James K. Galbraith gave a talk about the financial meltdown, repercussions, and potential policy remedies. Twas quite informative. I may compose a separate blog about the content of discussion. It will probably put you to sleep. I asked a question after Professor Galbraith's presentation. I really can't seem to help myself. I also ran into a woman I had not seen in over eight years. (See what I mean by running into every fucking one?) She was harmless though. In fact, she took my number and said she would keep me in mind in the event she heard of any friends who might be looking for a poor mixed girl to do some of their office type shit. I was grateful. The only awkward moment was when she looked at me and asked, "Are you still writing?" I can only imagine what my face must have looked like. Yes, once upon a time I actually believed I wanted to be a (gasp!) writer. A real writer. I smiled and said, "No. Not really. Not sure I have the discipline for real writing. What made this brief interaction somewhat painful was that this woman was actually the second person in the last month to ask me about my non-existent writing.

Afterward, while waiting for the bus home an attractive pasty gentlemen asked me if I had just attended the aforementioned talk. He said, "I'm sorry, but were you just in the Galbraith talk? You asked a question right?" I conceded that I had. "So, were you satisfied with the answer he gave you?" And from that a conversation ensued. Without realizing it, I became excited. I might actually have a conversation. With a man! A man who was just my type. Nerdy, pasty, and white. I quickly imagined his denuded form emanating the same type of blinding sheen reminiscent of a raw whole chicken in a supermarket freezer. Leave me alone. I like what I like. Plus, he was intelligent. But before any conversations (friendly or otherwise) could continue, the bus came. I held out for the tiny possibility that he might choose to sit next to me and converse more. This did not happen. And why didn't I sit next to him? Why didn't I at least ask his fucking name? Because I'm a jerk ass retard who doesn't know how to do simple things like that.

Tomorrow I am attending a documentary screening and discussion about James Baldwin. He is one of my favorite authors. I wonder if Chicken Boy will be there. I wonder why I wonder.

I am lonely. Without wanting to acknowledge it, I realize that I am very lonely.


leyla said...

I also love james baldwin..

"I'm only black because you think you're white."

an aside, do you think that acceptance from a white man represents acceptance from white society? i pretty much think that have had my own issues with that in the past...

leyla said...

there is an "and" in there somewhere... typo sorry..

AK said...

It's okay to admit you're lonely. It's also okay you didn't sit next to that guy on the bus. There's always next time! ;)

BonBon! said...

There will only be a next time if I leave the house. Hermitage. I doubt there will be a next time. But thanks kid. :(

Leyla, I truly have never really thought about it. I have only dated (bedded?) white men. And back when I had friends, most of them were white. This bothered me at times. I wondered why, as a Blaxican chica, I didn't have more of a "Rainbow Coalition" of friends, if you will. But then I just stopped worrying about it. I'm a geeky, bizarro, bookish person who hangs out in places which don't appear to attract many non-white folks. I'm not sure why that is. I just like people. But I would be lying if I didn't tell you have issues about being feeling exoticized and not liking it. There have been moments in my life when I would have killed to have been born pretty, white, and blue-eyed. That's no joke.

leyla said...

yeah, i totally relate..

at least we are not living in tenessee or some shit..

austin and the bay area are not so bad. although, come to think of it, SF is segregated as f*ck.

BonBon! said...

SF is pretty segregated. That's why I lived in Oakland! And would live there again if given the opportunity.