It never fails that the lead up to international travel comes with drama. This may result from the spazziness that accompanies the inevitable compulsion to do everything that has not been doe for the last two months. In addition to various medical crises that left me working way more at the last minute than I’m comfortable with my computer had its own brush with death. While innocently looking for images for my power point I got onto a porn site and downloaded some virus from hell. I was looking for images; of eunuchs, fireworks, and vocal cords. Somehow this got me to a fairly obscene site. I was hoping that when Manuel got home from the soccer game he’d taken the kids to that the conversation would involve phrases like “oh it’s so hard to be married to a humanities professor let me push this button and fix it.” Instead there was lots of cursing and “I hope you’re backed up. No you can not use my computer ever.” So there I was saying in front of the kids saying. “Ok I promise I will never click on any sites with penises or breasts again” And no I can’t put the kiddie controls on the computer because it blocks my own book—Renaissance musicology is racy stuff. And for the record one of the images is owned by the Vatican. There is a certain irony in someone with a visual impairment getting zonked by a porn site bug—talk about an audience for whom the visuals are irrelevant. Three hours and much cursing later Manuel had fixed the computer and felt like a total stud. (he is of course)
Meanwhile the kids are not thrilled about my going away for a week. This is the first time I’ve been to Rome without them since they were born so although I have a heavy dose of maternal guilt and will miss them I am mostly itching with excitement. Eli is expressing his opinion by throwing things. Rebecca is asking over and over again, when will you be back, how many days? Jonathan has proclaimed he’s not sure he can get out of bed without me. The big ones have also put in special orders. Rebecca would like a picture of a fountain made by the man near the church in Trastevere and a couple of cookies with apricot in them. Jonathan wants a “model of a Roman poem” I have no idea what he’s talking about but when I asked if he was talking about Sapho I was told “no mommy that’s greek” He thinks if I go to the store in piazza navona I’ll find one—I have no idea what store.
It’s not by the way entirely logical to go away for the week at the end of the semester. But my students are bearing with me. Or at least so I thought until the grad students requested that we read Lacan. Somehow at the advice of various hirer authorities I determined that Zizek would be easier and after frantic emails to friends entitled “Zizek emergency” I got the text and struggled through it. For a low pedagogical moment I actually told them to please go ahead and read the wikepedia sites on Lacan and Zizek. But in the end I’m glad they made me read it. I learned a lot. (wait aren’t they supposed to say that about me”?)
The paper by the way features my usual cast of castrati, fountains, fireworks, etc.. One of my friends who kindly read and edited for me pointed out that she associates my work with puking, exploding, gushing and other such images. This is clearly a project that was nurtured while taking two reflux babies to Rome. Not only were they still puking but we spent much of that sabbatical looking at puking lions, spitting ladies, peeing men, etc…..
Ok now it’s time to continue obsessively puttering around, printing crucial documents, finding hidden Euros, and maybe try to sleep!