Oblivion: A Memoir

There are people, things and books I only get to know about because I read of them in the news.

(I cannot afford to go to national conferences now, for example. When the university stopped funding these a few years ago I filled up a credit card for a while. Now I am paying on it. When it is paid off, I will start going to conferences of the fancy kind again, and thus fill up that card again. The financially based hiatus is one reason why it is especially important for me to read around in journals and newsletters. And that is one reason why I wish we could just work efficiently on the language teaching issue, and why I wish the men would actually do the administrative jobs they are paid to do. When these last two things do not happen, time and energy are wasted and others are asked to work for free.)

I just got e-mail from a student’s parents. The university did not generate the correct paperwork and his visa has been refused. I received this mail because I had been willing to speak to the student earlier on.

I said I did not have the right position to generate the correct paperwork. I forwarded the mail to the program officer, the chair and the dean and said, please handle this or send it to the right place.

I fully expect all these men to say they do not know, and to generously praise my skills. They will kindly say they fully support my creating the paperwork.

I am going to say that they are the ones with the titles, and I have a research assignment which I am contractually obliged to complete.

I would much rather be reading Jorge Volpi and all of these narco-novels, to cite a random example. And no, this is not self-indulgent on my part.



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