Skip to main content

A Rather Yale Evening

Last evening, I took a stroll after my Chaucer class to wind up in the Temple Bar at Mory's to do some reading.  I settled into a cozy booth, wrote a letter to Greer (yesterday was his first day of basic training at Fort Benning in Georgia), and opened up Castiglione's The Book of the Courtier.

I love the book.  It is full of humor and sage advice, and describes the way one can make use of courtly social graces to persuade others toward virtue.  It's a discussion of the artful and delicate ways one can navigate the corrupt waters of power and influence, and it describes the ideal Courtier in a way that makes me long for more people like this to enter our political sphere.

As I read, the Whiffenpoofs, that famous Yale a cappella group, started singing in the adjacent dining room.  I sat and listened for some time before packing up to head to the library.

It was cold and lightly raining outside, and the air felt brisk and wonderful.  I walked through the wet evening and made my way into the Sterling library, which always feels like stepping hundreds of years back in time.  I settled into the grand reference room, loving the fellowship of the totally silent fellow-studiers all around me.

I have truly turned a corner here.  I feel as though I'm in a bit of a honeymoon phase with Yale.  The history of the place, the beauty of the buildings and landscaping, the quaintness of the pockets of New Haven immediately surrounding the school.  Yale is full of hidden spaces that you really have to look for - it can be a hard campus to tour because so many of its best spots are concealed.  But as I get to know this place, I find myself standing in beautiful rooms more beautiful than the last; I hear music streaming from window after window as I stroll through campus; I meet person after person who excites me with their vast knowledge and fascinating life experience, and surprises me with their gracious kindness.  I learn from everyone here, and feel so closely knit with this community of learners.

I have been utterly captured by my studies.  I no longer look at my stack of assigned reading with panic - and if there is any stress at all it's concern that I won't have time to absorb the truth in the pages.

Comments

  1. "Architecture is to make us know and remember who we are."

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Cocktail Party

I had drinks with a friend after a long seminar tonight, and for the first time in a while, I didn't stagger to my car exhausted and then sit in traffic for 90 minutes (that's right, it takes me 90 minutes to go 11 miles #LosAngeles) and then collapse for an hour and then go back to work for another 3 hours before crawling into bed (I am taking too many classes this quarter).  Instead, I had two glasses of wine and a little dinner, and I got to talk to a great person who is willing to share a lot of knowledge with me as well as some genuine pleasantness.  It reminded me of the olden days when my social life and my academic life were centered around the same place and task, and it lightened the load quite a bit.

That moment of levity at the end of the day.  Ah.  We need it.  No reading.  No striving.  No obligations.  The wine or cocktail is key.  You're always pausing when you have a drink.  You're being a little bad.  You're working against your evening productiv…

I Don't Know

I've noticed a phenomenon in many areas of my verbal life wherein the phrase "I don't know" opens, closes, or rests in the middle of a phrase.  The more I listen for it, the more I am struck by its ubiquity, yet these phrases have nothing to do with the parameters of the speaker's knowledge.

In a seminar:  "I don't know, but I think he's saying..."

Among friends discussing the news: "Um, I don't know, but I feel like this could have been avoided..."

Two girls shopping:  "Is this cute?  Right?  I don't know."

Some guys on a walk: "I mean, I don't know, but was that the best choice..."

High school students in class: "I don't know, but don't you kind of feel like..."

Are we really so tentative?  Is our own knowledge so slippery that we cannot be certain of our opinions?  Do we doubt our own knowledge, we who may spend about 15-20 years of our lives in full-time, formal education or many ho…

Life Craft

Finals weeks are misery for me.  Sometimes I catch a wave of inspiration and weep into my keyboard, but those moments are rare.  I am not having one yet this time around.  I took too many classes this quarter and thus couldn't start my papers until it was too late to wait around for Muses.  And when I say I took too many classes that is not a request for applause at my ambition.  It was a mistake.  A mistake that reflects how desperate I am to be finished with my coursework so I can move on to Dante and do some real thinking that is not geared toward a 3AM slapdash 25 page paper.  And hopefully then this program will become enjoyable for me and not a daily reminder of the huge mistake I made deciding to go here.

As I have been trying to piece together a Boccaccio paper over the past three days, I've spent way more time on the internet than I normally do.  Especially Vogue, a publication I used to read regularly and haven't honestly read in several years.  I watched a bunch…