Thursday, September 23, 2010

Leavning on a Jet Plane

It never fails that no matter what happens the few days before I leave the country are totally spazzy. This time I’m going to Ireland to give a series of talks. Since I’m 100% sure that I do not have an Irish following I decided to do a mix of old and new talks with the new stuff coming from the chapter I’m working on. This seemed like it would be easy—and would take less time away from my book. I had until this week an explicit rule against working on talks before my kids went to bed. The coolest part of the gig involves speaking the Dublin Science museum at an exhibit called Body rhythms. It looks completely cool and is otherwise populated by experimental musicians, hip technology, and hipper scholars. After I looked at the web site I had a full panic attack about how I was not at all hip enough. Manuel talked me off the ledge I agreed to give a talk based on material from my first book. It is very nitty gritty anatomical and seemed just up their alley. Sadly the version of the talks that I have is twice as long as it was supposed to be. It’s never easy to cut something in half though I did find that cutting out all references to contributions to musicology and obsessive use of long quotations to drive a point into the ground helped matters. The legth was not my biggest problem. I wrote it two computers ago, one job ago, and a pre-technology as in no power point, no itunes music exampes, no bells and whistles. Oops. I enjoyed returning to some excellent illustrations and was reminded of some of my very favorite quotations from my research ever like when a woman has intercourse her voice changes because “her upper neck responds in sympathy to her lower neck” And in theory that I wrote a book once before suggests I can do it again. The video of the vocal cords in action is also always stunning.

So today I’m at two days and counting. Eli delightfully had the day off from school for the 15th Jewish holiday this month all of which fall on Manuel’s teaching days. In the morning he performed perfect child and played quietly, did an art project and sang songs while Emily and I worked on music examples and power points. He has a new gritty rock voice that he uses for everything. He became a devil child around lunch time and ended up in time out where Matt, the second grad student who came to my house for a meeting was treated to throwing things, wining, yanking my shirt off etc..

While he was being good child and amusing himself he was extremely busy. First he called 911—yes really. And explained that “my gawilla is sick and I can’t help him”
He packed a suitcase to come to Ireland with me and put in clothes, toys, books, a hole puncher, an empty soda can, a few carrots, some pretzels, and a small plastic pink knife. He made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich “all by myself.” He listened to my ipod obsessively which was on PJ Harvey because makes an appearance in the gllery talk. He learned the following words “lick my legs I’m on fire” And finally he gathered ingredients for baking cookies, which involved an egg. The egg promptly broke on the floor.

I don’t have a good track record for these sorts of trips. When I did a similar adventure in France two years ago it began with Eli having a baby tantrum and flailing so hard that he wacked me in the face and bruised my eye. I believe he was trying to steel apples from a farmers market and I rudely picked him up. I noticed at my parents’ house the night before my flight (two hours from home) that I had Rebecca’s passport not mine. Something bad happened to my flight and I ended up stranded in Zurich for five hours watching other planes fly to Paris. When I explained in Paris that I could not see the signs to find my bagge I was given a wheel chair. And then for the kicker I lost my friends apartment number and only located her by sweet-talking some French construction workers into letting me use their cell phones.

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