Wednesday, May 20, 2009

who i was, what i thought.

i found this draft from 28 july 2007, but because it was never completed, i never posted it.

re-reading it, i still can't figure out how i wanted to end it. i wonder if i had some idea but thought it wasn't good enough. that's not uncommon: often i overthought what i wanted to write.

anyways, here it is.

life gives and it takes.

i've become better friends with this barista i know [1], but now it seems stranger (but not quite strange) to linger in that coffeehouse for hours, doing math in a little world of my own making.

i'm paid to work on mathematics,
with no demands on where or when,
no specifics for how long or to what effort.

it's as long as i get it done, something done .. and "done" is a relative term.

some semesters i teach, but that isn't so bad. it's something to complain a little about, and it gives you more reason to prefer research.

i know this is a good deal.
i know i'm fortunate, that this is a privilege.

guilt ..of some sort.. urged me to the office today. i couldn't get very much done; i'd have been more productive working at a coffeehouse or in my apartment.

but it was good to be amongst others who were also doing mathematics, thinking about problems they didn't know how to solve. i wouldn't understand the work they're doing, and they wouldn't understand mine. that's fine, but we share in the struggle,

the futility of a day's worth of thinking,
coming to naught,
with nothing to show for it but pages of paper,
full of scrawl,
destined for the recycle bin.

the perks of academia are fine things, but the creative process ..and problem solving is a creative process.. is a frustrating, almost condemning way of life.

when you're doing something purely because you want to do it, then it becomes painfully more upsetting when it's not working out.

i suppose what i mean is ..

[end of original draft]

epilogue: i don't disagree with my past self, which is a little .. disappointing. sure, it's only been 2 years, but i was hoping to have changed more than that, maybe become a bit wiser. probably i am just as naive as i was, then.

[1] some months later, she quit her barista job and was on the road to becoming a spanish teacher. when i last saw her, she was a student teacher, about to graduate college.

we went out a few times. i meant to call her in october (2007), but too much time had passed. this was shortly after the advisor passed away. the longer it was, the less i wanted to explain why it was so long since i called her.

part of me wanted, i think, to know someone that didn't know that juha died, and that i could be sure would speak to me as if i were just me. contrast this with an entire department that walked on eggshells around me, and handled me with kid gloves -- that's how it felt, at least.

ironic, though, that we never spoke since.

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