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Short Trip, Long Week

Work is still nuts, I’m still sick, I have a bunch of commitments hanging over my head, and there is now time pressure to turn the construction site that is our house back into someplace that can comfortably hold more than two people for a while. Things may be sparse around here this week.

In the meantime, you can catch up on how the panel in Chicago went at Brute Reason. Ian has his own impressions as well.

It was funny. I had to remind myself that Ian and I hadn’t met before in meatspace. Andrew and Miri and Kate and Chana I’d met and talked to before, and I enjoyed seeing again. Jamie and Lynne and William I’ve interacted only barely with, so it truly felt like meeting someone for the first time. Sikivu and Tony are people whose work I admire and whose scholarship I’m still working to integrate into my own thinking, so it was grand to have a (far too short) opportunity to pick their brains. Ashley and Emmett I mostly saw at too much distance for anything but knowing I need to talk to them again some other time. Debbie and Brianne are old friends by this point.

Ian, though…well, I almost forgot we’d never spent time together. It took standing next to him and realizing I didn’t think he was that tall–or maybe that I was that short–to remind me. Funny.

Then there was the fact that he referred to me as a stealth “intellect” in his write-up. That’s going to take some time to assimilate. When Ian says I don’t advertise myself as an intellect, it’s because I don’t think of myself that way.

Being an intellectual is so far from the world in which I grew up that it just doesn’t compute. I don’t know the shibboleths. I speak the language only as an acquired vocabulary and without the ease that comes from been trained to it by native speakers. When it comes to the cultural trappings, I’m a fraud.

I’ll just have to keep reminding myself that those aren’t the bits that matter.


  1. Robert B. says

    Technically, calling someone an “intellect” is different from calling them an “intellectual.” An “intellect,” in the sense Crommunist used the word, means someone with a powerful, well-trained mind. An “intellectual” is someone who works in ideas. “Intellect” is higher praise, in my view, and also one that doesn’t involve those cultural trappings you mention. (Though it seems to me, from my more distant perspective, that both terms apply to you, cultural trappings or no. Anyway, a lot of the cultural trappings are ways for people who aren’t intellects to still get counted as intellectuals.)

  2. says

    Ian, though…well, I almost forgot we’d never spent time together. It took standing next to him and realizing I didn’t think he was that tall–or maybe that I was that short–to remind me. Funny.

    I met many of my friends through the internet.
    I met the woman who is my BFF now and my daughter’s godmother on the internet and we would never have met each other in “meatspace” without the internet though we’re living rather close to each other.
    And over the years I got to know many people over the internet and met them in meatspace later. To this day I have to meet somebody who is noticably different in meatspace than on the internet.
    People I had some “connection” with on the net were the people I easily connected with in meatspace. People to whom I hadn’t grown much on the net didn’t become my BFFs in meatspace. Doesn’t mean they’re not wonderful people.
    So, I’m not too fond of making this distinction between “Internet” and “real life”.
    Do you spend time with somebody when you Skype with them for an hour?

  3. freemage says

    *Le sigh* I am SO bummed I missed this because I was an idiot on Friday. I’m glad you guys had fun, though, and hope similar visits to Chicago happen in the future.

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