In case you thought I’d died…

From the second foor of Vari Hall, outside the History Department at York (that my classrooms were so swanky!)

Okay, I’m a crappy blogger. Or, put another way, perhaps I’m not such a crappy grad student. I’ve been too busy to keep this up. But I may, in this moment, be having a psychotic break. That I am choosing to finally post an update on my back-to-school blog right when everything in my tiny ivory tower is either coming due or crumbling down, indicates one of two possibilities. I am either uber organized and, unfazed, am sailing serenely through it all, or I’m experiencing a profound just-fuckit moment. Let’s go with the later, because if you apply the principle of Occam’s Razor, it certainly fits.

This is pretty much what I look like all the time now. Badly dressed, confused, out of focus and constantly reading. Also, I need a haircut.

But in an odd way, I’m having fun. I’ve met some fabulous people. My friend Dave is amazing. I’ll tell you more about Dave in another post. And Karen Dancy, in the Grad History office is a total life-saver. She’s helped me out tremendously. I call her the hub. Here she is.

Karen a.k.a the Hub




Over-stretching my brain is not unlike training my plus-sized body to do ridiculous feats, like hobble down a trail for 25 km with a cold, or swim for four hours straight.  And once again, I’ve discovered that being as stubborn as a pit bull with a bone isn’t necessarily a negative quality. I’ve also discovered that being an old scholar is not unlike being a fat athlete. In both cases, people just don’t see you coming.

I’ve had this experience several times as I huff along a trail. “Good for you!” This, always from the conspicuously thin in their colour-coordinated lycra. They say this to me as though they were speaking to a child who has achieved the miracle of a finger painting,  or a creaky old dog that manages still to beg on command. I hold my tongue. I even smile. I should tell them to go to hell, but I’m not that brave. I think it makes them feel simultaneously superior and magnanimous. They get to puff up their scrawny little chests like stringy roosters and encourage me, or, more accurately, encourage the person they think I am; a fatty who finally got off the couch. They would never guess that I’m a bonafide trail runner, and wouldn’t believe I can swim 10 km. I don’t let them bother me. I tell myself that they are dicks, even if I am jealous of their outfits (no one makes flashy women’s running clothes for anyone thicker than a stick).

I’ve encountered a similar dickishness in my latent academic pursuits. “You’re a student?” is guffawed, usually with no attempt to cover their obvious shock that such an old git could be hitting the books. The person continues to stare at me like I’ve sprouted Vulcan ears. (A geeky aside: If I have to bear being looked at like I’m wearing a homemade Star Trek outfit, I’d prefer to be seen as Bajoran. I always thought Ro Laren was hot.) I tried not to let these comments bother me either. But I confess, at first, they did. I wondered if I was really capable, if, perhaps, I was too old, and that maybe, I just wasn’t up to the job.

I was wrong. It’s tough, but I’m actually doing really well. I’m even considering applying next month to do my PhD. So I don’t let the funny looks bother me anymore. I just smile, think ‘dick,’ and pick up another book. Now, if I could only find the time to get back in the pool or hit a trail.


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