Vignettes from then

On my job interview, we went to a bar to talk and soon realized it was too loud for a business meeting. We decided to move to a diner. I stood up and my prospective department chair said, don’t waste the drinks. We picked them up and walked with them outside.

In the halls of the department the next afternoon, I was introduced to a man who had a beer in his hand and a cigarette in the other. When he left I asked whether he were a graduate student. He was faculty, and as I was to learn, a very good colleague, too.

At spring break an actual graduate student and I decided to drive to San Antonio to an art exhibit. Back home one would never have done anything so familiar with a student as take a road trip, but this was here.

She carried a cold six-pack from her house into the car and flipped one open. I did not let her drive, or drink once we crossed into Texas. So we stayed legal by the standards of the time, but it felt like an initiation.

I started talking to my neighbor. He asked me to dinner, and wanted me to drive. At the restaurant, he said we had taken my car because he had an ex who drove around town looking for his.

I do not want her bursting in, I want to relax. Back home one would not have continued to see someone with that situation, but this was here. I mentioned it to the graduate student who said, there is a type of woman who knocks on doors at five in the morning.

And it was all foreign then, but it is familiar now.

Many years later in another house I received that five in the morning knock and called the police. I was told I had been very brave and also wise, as the standard response would be to go outside and argue.

I do not understand why it was brave to call the police on that occasion, though, as one never knows who is carrying firearms.

Once at Mardi Gras I went to El Salvador to read and that is a dangerous place, but it seemed comparatively peaceful because the degree of volatility appeared lower.




Filed under News

4 responses to “Vignettes from then

  1. Reading your posts about the U.S. is like reading dispatches from a (violent) foreign country.

  2. Greetings from Sardinia, congratulations for the blog.

  3. Z

    Bevenut@ dalla Sardegna, Fontedeglidei!

    Undine – well, it is a violent country and it is foreign because the U.S. in which I was raised, was not like this. I am noticing these things now especially because of having just come back from Mexico which is so much less violent.

    And that is still a violent country if you read the news, but there is some sort of difference — as in, perhaps, that it isn’t normalized as it is here. In the US my issue is the boundary invasions — people are not gentle / respectful with each other and for many trampling on boundaries seems to be the entire point of interacting with other people.

    The violence, though, really is why I do not get more done. I am distracted, on guard, on edge; what is upmost in my mind, always, is the need to watch out and the wish and instinct to get to a safer place. Everything else is secondary. This is why I like to be abroad.

  4. Pingback: Things I do automatically when abroad, and did here before Reeducation, but have a hard time doing here now. | Mictlantecuhtli

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