Today I got my first issue of this journal in the mail. If you’re not familiar with it (and should really just thank dog that you’re not), it’s the publication of the big, big, huge association of language and literature scholars that I just had to join in order to properly go on the job market this year. Along with the exorbitant cost of membership I get a subscription to the journal. When I found it in my mailbox today, I was understandably excited, both about seeing a real material return on that money and about the feeling of official professionalism it inspired. I am very important now, see.
My excitement withered as soon as I noticed that this issue is not a regular issue, but rather the program for the big, big, huge upcoming conference. To give you an idea of how big the conference is, I will just tell you that this issue/program is 366 pages long.
[UPDATE: I am relieved (?) to tell you that the last 100 pages are advertisements. Still.]
I’m feeling significantly less excited now and more full of dread and discomfort. I prefer, generally, not to be involved in giant events full of swarming people. I can just imagine it now: millions upon millions of black-suit-clad academics with horn-rimmed glasses and loud shoes and tons of nervous energy*. And the grad students! The eager grad students! I have never been able to stand eager, earnest grad-student types, even when I was a grad student myself. It’s the eagerness. Witnessing someone else’s eagerness makes me almost as uncomfortable as those horrible Schadenfreude-inducing moments that are now such a staple of reality TV. Ugh.
At any rate, at least the conference this year is in one of my all-time favorite cities, and if, as I suspect will happen, I do not even get any interviews, I will be free to avoid all the scurrying little ants and go drink cappuccinos near that one bookstore I love so much.
*This sentence is proof of the theory that what we hate in others is merely the reflection of ourselves (or the echo of our loud shoes).