Tuesday, August 22
Every year I make a sort of sacriligious pilgrimage to a super-secret location for an unspectacular event that has nothing to do with my academic life.

The reason I (along with 20 of my closest non-academic friends and a couple hundred other fun people) enjoy this place so much is that, although the goal of our adventure is the same as many of our other summer weekends, this place is goverened by a different set of assumptions than the world we normally live in, and you wouldn't think it, but many of them are better than ours.

It strikes me as a place with very few barriers, where the beer flows freely and all kinds of things normally restricted or prohibited in the outside world are open and allowed. I am more comfortable there than other places, despite the fact that there is no cellular service (gulp), and certainly no data or computers.

I know you think I'm headed off to the mountains for some sort of hippie retreat on a commune, but that wouldn't constitute a decent academic secret. And this one is a serious flaw in the otherwise smooth fabric of my real life identity, so PLEASE don't tell anyone that my glorious annual retreat is... Okay, wait... Before I tell you, you have to understand that we've been doing this for 15 years or more now, and we're genuinely surprised that we're still allowed, but we are, so we do. Can you tell I'm nervous? It's a horrible secret!

Okay, (deep breath... exhale) the reason there's no cell service is not merely that it's a little bit removed from urban life. The real reason is that the signals are scrambled because...

...It's a Naval Base!


Mahogany said...

Don't worry. I'm fine, and I'm just kidding about my horrible embarrassment. I do think it's interesting, tho, how laid back it is there, er, once you get through the gates, which is a much bigger ordeal than it was in the late eighties. Oh! But if I don't reappear early next week, send the ACLU and an extraction team.

kodachrome said...

Pachaaa! Squid! Oh. That's a marine. I don't even know what language they speak on a naval base. And how, exactly would one survive without a PDA/cellphone? This is disturbing, Mahogany!

fraud, in denim said...

Although all my military experience is through family members and friends, I completely understand this sentiment.

It's a little different, but when I was a kid I was quickly promoted to a manager at McDonald's. Although I loved the position, what I loved even more were the days that I was allowed to shed that identity and just work drive-thru. I get the same feeling going home, where I'm not Dr. Fraud, and no one knows a thing about my discipline, and I just get to be me.

Navy Blue Blob said...

Interesting, Mahogany. I would not have guessed that as an outcome.

I'm intrigued, what is it about the place that makes you feel so great.. and is there absolutely no way of replicating at least some of that in the rest of your life?

Fraud, your comments is interesting as well. Is it overall a good thing that people at home don't know what you're talking about. The person I'm dating right now doesn't know much about my area and I find it less-than-ideal. I can see the upside to some extent, but since I do like my area of research, it's a bit of a bummer.

fraud, in denim said...

nbb: I think that home, like drive-thru, is comforting in doses. I could not live with that life day in and day out, but every once in a while it is really liberating to shed a persona to take on something with less (or different) expectations.

With regard to my personal life, I don't think that I could date a non-academic, or even someone who wasn't in a social science. It would be too hard to daily, or hourly, or minute-by-minute, switch my academic identity on and off. I've also found that people who haven't been to grad school, or in academia, oten just can't comprehend the time or passion we give our work, and that's difficult too. Good luck to you.

Mahogany said...

Navy Blue, with a sinister chuckle, I have to say, yes, I try very hard to replicate that in my real life, but, unfortunately and ironically what I like about that navy base is that (once you get inside) it's a socialist community. So, um. I'm only moderately successful in my efforts.

Re: shedding identity: That's always been important to me, don't know why, but I can say that I would never have been to a naval base if it weren't for the non-academic person in my life, and for all the talk about how open-minded we academics are, you know... But that's not to say my world isn't tiny. It is. tiny. All we can do is try to find a way to put our little worlds together.

Blog Archive