Jealousy, Humanity, Prudence and Hope*
A good friend and ex-co-worker, Don, is a professor of Humanities at a college in Michigan. We keep in touch mostly by email, he’ll occasionally send me the tests he’s given his students (on art, literature, music, what-have-you) and I take them to see how I score in his class. It’s fun, it keeps me on my toes, and we have a good laugh at how much I’ve remembered/forgotten. This morning, Don sent me the syllabus for his fall Intro to Humanities class.
And I’m so freakin’ jealous I could just spit.
I’m a humanities whore.
I mean music, art, film, books, architecture, theatre, language, the creative bents that expand the fabric of the human experience.
I could just roll around in ‘em all day and never get bored, and eat ‘em up like a Roman feast, gorge myself, purge, and eat some more. I know a little about a lot of things, I can speak fairly well about the culture surrounding a work, or the artist’s personal life, or the effect religion/society had on the theme or somethingblahblahblah that I’ve learned along the way.
I’ve learned that insanity has a place in a creative life.
And that there’s no other word like ‘chiaroscuro’.
So, anyway, Don emailed me his syllabus, and I read every word, every extra-credit project he’d offer, every point given for attendance, burning it into my memory, all the while thinking, “I should be teaching this! I’d so rock!” Then the jealousy set in.
Because even though I love my job, it’s just not as fulfilling as I imagine a job teaching Humanities would be.
I drove through campus this morning, stopping at the crosswalks to let profs pass, to let freshman stumble glassy-eyed across, waving at the cute dark-haired guy who waved back when I motioned him. And I thought, “I should be there. I should be crossing. I should be hauling a shoulder bag full of materials and obsessing about this lecture and wondering how the hell I’m gonna get through to that guy in the front who keeps falling asleep.”
It’s too late, I think, it’s too late to go back to school, too costly, too time-intensive. I feel so fully vested in my job, in my current earning-potential, that I can’t imagine the upheaval of totally changing careers.
And yet I can.
But for now, I won’t. I have a connection. I have tests to take. I have a person who wants my opinion on how to structure his Winter Humanities class. I have time to think about it all.
And someday I’ll be in the crosswalk.
(*Bob Mould, forgive me.)