14 February 2010

What I Want to Be When I Grow Up

I did know what I wanted to do when I grew up way back when I was still thirteen. Then I grew up and for so many reasons, it didn't work out. I gave up on it completely when I was 24 and have spent the past five years trying to figure out what else I want to be when I grow up. I think I have settled it.

When I grow up, I want to be a peripatetic metaphysical philosopher-poet. Peripatetic because the Parapatetics wandered around the different Greek city states teaching philosophy to the citizen youth and I have this sneaking feeling that I will continue wandering around the western nation-states. Philosopher because I will be teaching it (parapatetically) and I also don't think I can stop and I like it. Metaphysical because one has to specialise, and publish or perish! Poet because it is otherwise very, very hard to write metaphysics and I like poetry and I like to sing. I also like the metaphysical poets.

I think that it is one of the delightful occupational hazards of loving the study of ancient Greek that one would look to its culture in order to pick out one's career path. I'm not sure that I would want to change that even if I could and besides, it will make my newsagent into a soothsayer and who doesn't want a soothsayer to be their newsagent?

It does make things seem clearer. Teach, talk, sing and write, wander. I tend to do these things; now I need to figure out how to do these things with people and have them exchange money for it. I have a concrete plan in mind already.

The haze is clearing

12 February 2010

Regularly Scheduled

I have a mouse that comes to visit my flat and run (not very sneakily) across the sitting room floor every Thursday around 10.30pm*. The mouse is rather cute - a brown field-mouse sort of mouse - and over the weeks I have grown used to the mouse's visitations and I no longer shriek at it. I have named it Thursday Mouse because I'm a very original denominator**. I haven't the heart to set out mouse traps though I would rather that Thursday Mouse did not visit and the whole situation makes me miss my cat still more. I wonder if there is something that can be done to discourage him***. Mouse-discouragement powder or similar.

How does Thursday Mouse know that it's Thursday? How does Thursday Mouse know that it's 10.30pm? And how does Thursday Mouse know that that means it is time to visit me? I haven't been able to find a mouse hole and so I wonder how Thursday Mouse gets here but I really would rather know how a mouse manages to keep so regularly to a schedule. I long to bring this up in a Phil of Science seminar but I would be embarrassed for everyone to know that not only do I leave the library before midnight but I also have a mouse in my flat.

*There may be other visits about which I am unaware in addition to the Thursday night but there has been a Thursday night visit every week for the past nine weeks, which I think puts this statistically past the post of random.
**A few years ago my subconscious mind started offering automatic internal corrections to the endings/plurals of Latin words in English. In this instance it is calling out that it ought to be 'denominatrix', as indeed it should; however, I think that that would probably bring up unwonted connotations. I'm childish enough that it made me laugh.
***Beyond the obvious - I am not as careless a housekeeper as all that. My untidiness consists in books and newspapers and shoes and scarves strewn perpetually about+ but none of these things is a particular mouse-attractant.

+My couch is currently occupied by myself, my computer, four scarves, two hats, three pairs of shoes (technically on the floor beside the couch but close enough), two newspapers, six books and an article for my dissertation. This is why I can never find anything - I am usually sitting on the scarf I want and the book I need for the day is trapped inside the quilt. Thursday Mouse's hole is probably better organised than my flat. What can I expect, however? My footnotes have footnotes and this accurately represents my internal organisational principles.

06 February 2010

Now What?

I'm feeling pretty good these days on the whole (hurray!) but I don't quite know what to do with myself. Every time my mood changes in the larger sense (not just from having a bad day or a good day) the edges of various solipsistic information about the world show up. It's something like having a piece of paper that has been folded over places, then had the surface written on and then unfolded again, showing blank spots that were always there but previously unseen. It's simultaneously expanding and contracting - there's more paper but there's more blank space.

Now I'm here and I can finish my work in short order and I don't really have enough to fill my days now that it isn't painful to get out of bed. This makes me think I must be doing something wrong because I'm sure that grad students aren't supposed to have free time in such abundance. I could, of course, make myself busy with study. Perhaps I should. I doubt, however, that I shall. That doesn't feel like what's missing. I can't quite identify what's missing. I think I might doubt or fear my own agency. Any ideas? Any similar experiences?