The party was attended by a small army of youngish gay men, many of whom waited patiently in queue for tarot readings that were expertly given by a certain Madame D. [Yo, D!] I observed the proceedings for a while and noticed that nearly every reading concerned matters of sex or love or, in exceptional cases, both, which is in and of itself hardly surprising. Somewhat more noteworthy was the fact that in spite of the tales of rejection and heartbreak that Madame D’s querents shared with her, one through tears, they remained fiercely optimistic about the possibility of connection with their lovers and friends and about the lives they are just beginning to live. By contrast, my reading concluded with the screamingly chipper Nine of Swords:
Bad dreams or premonitions. Deception, depression and suffering. Violence, scandal and loss. Etc.
Well, I guess scandal could be interesting.
Later in the evening I met one of my former students, a youngish gay man named Nicky who I was quite fond of at the time and with whom I smoked and talked for a while. He is now in his final year of an undergraduate degree in political science and has decided he has had enough of the “horrible system” that is academia. (Ah, the student surpasses the teacher!) He also talked about the very first lecture I gave in our class almost three years ago and the effect it had on him, and although I had the good grace to thank him I was still slightly amazed that he remembered it at all. When I left him I smiled and wished him well, and he smiled back up at me, and in that moment I remembered what it is I love, truly love about teaching.
Bring us home, Bakhtin:
To be means to communicate. Absolute death (nonbeing) is the state of being unheard, unrecognized, unremembered. . .
Hell yeah, and goodnight.