The politics of scheduling: We do not reschedule. They reschedule on us. Sometimes right before-hand, hours before. The assistants are unfailingly polite, effusive. “We are so sorry.”
People in their lives get sick. They themselves get sick. Their excuses are sweet, like the excuses of my college undergrads. “Don’t give your family bad mojo by having a grandmother die twice,” I used to tell my students. I wouldn’t mind being told, “Hey, you know what? I have to meet with someone really powerful. Way more powerful than you. Isn’t that exciting?”
I know that we are getting fit in, squeezed in. I don’t actually take it personally. How can I? The version of myself that I offer up to this world of meetings is so abbreviated. I am intrigued by their busy schedules, by their assistants and their nice shoes. It’s hard for me to see myself having these things. Which is maybe part of the problem.
I do get the urge, in these meetings, to crack impolitic jokes. Stand up on the coffee table and tap dance. Quote Pierre Bourdieu, or the book I’m reading now, Aglietta’s A Theory of Capitalist Regulation. It always feels odd to tell people in Industry meetings that I am working on a thesis. It makes me want to bluff.
–What are you writing about?
–Oh, you know, right now I’m thinking about the role that the central bank plays in enforcing the monetary constraint and its role in financial crises and the culture’s relationship to… Are you going to sleep? Right now?
Or I get the urge to pull a crazy-mom act, talk about my toddler’s poop. I never talk about her poop. I am not that kind of mom. But I have gotten advice, in the “Industry,” both to be unflinchingly honest, to draw from my own life, and never to admit that I’m married, that I have a child, that I am over 23. This contradiction gives me the urge to talk about poop.
–Oh, you don’t have kids yet? Wait till you get that first really nasty yellow loose stool…
Who would be shocked? Who would laugh? Who would smile and smile and write down “crazy f*&king beeee-atch” in his leather desk planner? I don’t know. I’m nice. They are nice. Everyone is extremely nice.
Fact is, I quite like almost everyone I have “met.” Maybe this is also part of the problem. Maybe I should get up and tap dance.