Monday, January 27, 2014

A sociology superhero!

You know when you used to fantasize about all the remarkable unique shit you'd do as an adult? Finding the most complete Velociraptor skeleton in your suburban back yard?  Being compared to F. Scott Fitzgerald because of the novels you write? Helping all the children learn to read?

I still have these delusions of future grandeur, the only difference between my 10 year old and 26 year old self being that I now have faster internet.  So, while at age 10 I might suddenly think, "Eureka!  I'll do the Peace Corps and fall in love and become a great writer!", I wouldn't naturally turn to the hefty gray box sitting in our family den that made shrieking noises like a dying swan family when you had to 'dial up'--whatever the hell that meant.  Instead, I would probably become over-excited about my idea, run in circles, and then fall asleep.  And, upon waking, I would be reset and go back to playing with model dinosaurs or making my brother Leif drink weird 'everything drinks' that I made from combining all the liquids in my fridge and then cleverly adding hot cocoa mix so that it all looked brown and innocent.  Sometimes, like the Peace Corps thing, the ideas would set and hatch further down the line.  Most of the time, the brilliant things and the brilliant me that I saw in my future would dissipate and evaporate and become like a cranial itch I would sometimes remember in the middle of a conversation with someone when certain words would trigger the memory..."Did you hear about the neaderthal skeleton they found in a cave in France?" "DID YOU KNOW I ONCE WAS ALMOST A BIOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGIST?" "Um.  Aren't you majoring in English? And 19?"  "...."

These ideas, these fantasies became such an important yet invisible part of me that I would forget that I hadn't spent a life time studying human evolution and participating in digs in the middle east, and that I actually hadn't ever written a full-length critically-acclaimed book yet.

Back to my present self and the remarkable gift of fast internet.  Where my 10 year old self couldn't immediately google and then realize the futility of her ideas (rats, need a strong background in music performance to get the role of Cosette in Les Miserables), my current self is often even more deluded by the powers of the interwebs while also cognizant of my inability to instantly become a marine biologist or astronaut.

Today, in a hot fit of frenzied cabin fever provoked by cold that would destroy all of the biological material that composes my face by the time I walked the block to the bus stop, I indulged in this very familiar pastime of mine: No really, what can I be when I grow up? 

Today, my idea was to become a sociologist.  A doctor of sociology, in fact.  Why? So that I can study the most fascinating shit on earth like gender, race, culture, misrepresentation of history, etc etc.  A few quick google searches showed me that I'm not inappropriately far behind in order for this to be feasible...slippery slope of logic perhaps...but still.  It's not entirely fantastical.  But then!  With my many years of education and nuanced experience and my firm sense of logic, I had the thought that being a sociologist is basically just being a snooty social worker.  ? Which is almost entirely untrue, since being an academic doesn't necessarily make you snooty.  And then I had the other incredibly informed thought that perhaps graduating with a PHD in sociology doesn't ensure one a job or purpose in life.  But then!  My final thought!  26 years of pure intellect boiled down into this one image of future me:  I would be a sociology superhero!  Upon graduating with my PHD, I would abdicate my snooty academic throne, throw my books to the curb, and go rogue!  I would run around different places wearing bright clothes and perform drive-by sociological interventions in which I inform certain people that they are adhering to and perpetuating certain dogmatic cultural paradigms of race and gender and when they inevitably tell me to bugger off I'll tell them I have a PHD in sociology and run off!!

So, the good news in all this is that I'm bound to fall asleep at some point over the next few hours and be reset for tomorrow so that I can go back to work as an extremely cold youth worker.

Love and Llamas,
Ilse


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