“Let’s get together,” people say. “Let’s have coffee. Let’s talk more about philosophy.” And then the clincher: “Do you ever get into* Toronto?”
I don’t know how to explain to these people how unlikely it is that they and I will be sipping latte at Dooney’s any time soon. (Does Dooney’s still exist, one wonders?) It would be rude to say “when hell freezes over,” but this is what I’m thinking. Not that I don’t enjoy talking philosophy. If I were at the hotel bar at a conference, this kind of thing would be more than welcome. I’d make time for it at Pomona too. But not now. Not from home. Not when I’m on leave.
This is my Monday to Friday routine:
I take my kid to school, sit at my desk and read and write, pick my kid up, play with her; then there’s dinner, bath, books, and bed; then, if I can stay awake, I catch up with my husband or watch a movie.
But that’s just the theoretical routine. In practice, I lose time shopping for food or kid clothes, and every now and then I have to get the hairs cut or teeth cleaned or legs waxed, and there’s email, and making the impersonal phone calls that keep life rolling, and writing lists of things to do, and laundry, and lots of times I don’t feel like working so I blog or whatever. And what with one thing and another, my work week is probably 25 hours. And I’m going to take a precious day to come into* Toronto and have a coffee with you,
you shmuck my dear friend? Like, if I went into* Toronto, it wouldn’t be to see my relatives? Or take the kid to the zoo?
I read philosophy slowly. I’m lucky if I get 10 pages an hour. My kid is high maintenance. She takes my full attention during the hours she’s at home. No, I’m not coming into* Toronto any time soon. No, it would not be good to meet up at the zoo and talk philosophy while my daughter does something else. No, I cannot call you on the weekend and chat for an hour; that’s Eila time. I want, and I have, a simple life.
I have to edit this post because I’ve realized that people might read it and think “she means me.” I don’t mean any of you. There are people reading this blog whom I’d go to Toronto for, or (more likely) Hamilton, and there’re people who come to see me and who don’t try to stop me from doing the things I need to do, like playing with the kid — and who play with the kid themselves. But, first, there aren’t very many of these people. Compared to most people, I have few friends. And, second, the people who’ve remained my friends are the people who understand my need for the simple life and whom it doesn’t bother. Other people dump me, and I don’t care.
* in to