Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Brave new worlds

I have been living either on a college campus or in the academic slum on the outskirts of a campus since 1988. That is 26 years, basically my entire adult life. First I lived in my college dorm in New York State, then I moved to a townhouse for upperclassmen on campus. Then I went to law school on St. Louis and living in two apartment buildings, each dominated by renters who were graduate or law students. When I moved to Chicago to move in with Mrs. Noz (at that time girlfriend-of-Noz), she was a graduate student. So I ended up in a neighborhood of graduate students. We stayed there for two years after she got her PhD, before moving to "Philadelphia"--really faculty housing on a college campus just outside Philadelphia. My neighbors were no longer graduate students, but professors, which are basically just grown up graduate students. I have been living on this campus for 15 years--first in an apartment, and then for the last 9 years in a house. All the while surrounded my academically minded people. My people.

Which is a little strange because I'm not an academic. At best I'm an academic-in-law. But I do identify much more with academic-type people than lawyer-type people. For a while I could at least claim to be a student. I was a student of something for every year of my life from preschool until 2010, when I became a father and didn't have the time to continue with my Arabic lessons.

Today is another break with my connection to academia. Today we move into a new house and for the first time in my adult life I will be living in a place that isn't dominated by adult students or teachers. It feels like a big deal for me, even though I spend pretty much every day with non-academics.

It will be really weird. I mean, if there is a sudden change in government in Russia, what will I do if I can't just walk up some stairs and talk to someone with a PhD in Russian politics? How do the rest of you deal with stuff like that?