Thursday, September 14, 2006

the catechumen hustle

Off shift, back in my civvies. Retired to the bar with a book opened on the table and a pint of beer in my hand, my brain soaks up words while my liver soaks up alcohol. Gone is the uniform of the servant, and on is the attire of the mistress. I’m in control, now. No-one’s lackey. If I had to build one more double latte espresso-chino with half decaf and extra low-fat foam I was seriously going to snap. A shadow sidles up beside me; a body slides into the booth opposite. Sara wielding an appletini. Speaking of servants.

“What are you reading?” she asks.

“Writing and Difference, I say, tacking on at the end, “Derrida.”

“I’m familiar,” she says with that hint of the aloof.

“One of those, hey?” I ask. “I caught the tone.”

“What are you talking about? One of which?”

“One of those holdouts from yesteryear,” I say. “One of those who still views Mr Derrida as an enemy of philosophy.”

“That’s ridiculous,” she says, “everyone knows Rorty is the real enemy of philosophy.” Sara smoothes out her skirt, recrosses her legs, and turns the appletini in her fingertips. “I’m just surprised you still bother to read this stuff at all.”


“I thought I remember you saying you’d never finished university?”

“I did, yes, but I don’t think there’s some kind of cap on my learning ability just because I didn’t get a degree.”

“That’s not what I’m saying,” she says, sipping at her sickly green concoction. “I’m just surprised you bother, at all, to subject yourself to such opacity when you don’t need to.”

“To each her own,” I say, grimacing at Sara’s sugary potion.

Oblivious, Sara pushes on. “Why did you decide to drop out, anyway?” she asks.

“Drop out,” I scoff. “You make it sound like such a negative. We prefer opt out. We’re university opt outs.”

“We?” she asks. “Who’s this we?”

“My fellow revolutionaries and me.”

“Well,” Sara sneers, “you’ll call it what you will. Why did you decide to opt out, then.”

“Wanted to find an idea, to shake things up, to lead a revolt,” I say. “All things nearly impossible to do when confined to a classroom or auditorium ten months out of the year.” I pause to take a gulp of beer. “Better to be confined to a bar, I think.”

“Come on, seriously…”

“Seriously. I’m choosing to feed myself rather than be force fed,” I say. “It’s the difference between choosing to thrive on a nutritious diet of wholegrain breads, fresh veggies, and good, clean, meat, rather than merely subsisting on the unwholesome slop most are accustomed to. The difference between—”

“Are you saying—?”

“—the difference between intrepid adventurer and insipid milquetoast.”

Sara is clearly aghast. “So, you’ve really something against education, then!”

“No,” I correct her. “I’ve really something for choice is all. Carte blanche. I’ve also really something for courage, confidence, and creativity—”

“Verbal acrobatics and verbosity—”

“—all leading to certainty. Convinced?”

“Consternated is the word,” Sara says, with a modicum of disgust.

“Another C,” I wink. “I think you’re really starting to get it.”

No comments:

Post a Comment