Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mental Health Break

I came home on Wednesday night from a long day of classes and a presentation/interview/dinner with a candidate for an open position on our campus. Hubby was waiting for me with a glass of wine and an announcement:

"We are going to Chicago on Friday. You need a break from all this mess and we have a place to stay and there is fun to be had. So we're going, and don't argue."

We left early Friday afternoon to drop the Things off with Hubby's parents, because we needed to be in the city by 7:00 for the show.

On the way down, I flipped off the "Wisconsin is Open for Business" billboard. 

It was raining like crazy, and traffic (as usual) was awful as soon as we hit Touhy Avenue on 1-94E. Stop and we were late, but hadn't missed the start of the show. 

It was interesting--the "Stella!" yelling contest was entertaining too--and I got to define "eructation" for the entire audience. The best part came afterward.

While chatting on the settee with Mimi, I was approached by a nice gentleman who complimented me on my helpful definition--and asked if I was a professor. I said yes, and he exclaimed "That's awesome!" and expressed concern when he found out that I teach in Wisconsin.

Mimi and I continued our conversation, and she remarked how wonderful it is that I'm a teacher--especially given what's going on in Wisconsin (and nationally). Later in the evening, as we shouted over drinks and food at the Haymarket brewpub both Mimi and Greta had lots of kind things to say, and Dominique asked lots of questions about what I teach (Hubby had told them earlier that I teach science fiction--the next NGR is a science fiction show for which I will be unable to attend, as I'll be at a conference giving a paper on SF author William Gibson).

As I sat there bathed in the warm glow of my martini and their admiration for the work that I do, I thought, "I wish I could share this with my friends, my colleagues who are feeling beleaguered and demoralized by the events in Wisconsin and Ohio--my home state--and who need to know that people care."

So this is me, telling all of you: PEOPLE CARE. They care a lot--the talk was impassioned and very anti-Walker, and they expressed admiration for the protests and the people who continued to peaceably assemble and assert their right to petition for redress of grievances.

I wobbled out of the bar feeling better than I have in weeks. And not due to the alcohol (though maybe it helped a little). People care. Maybe there's hope for the future.

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