Friday, 13 May 2005

in Lansing

so it is, by my laptop's BST clock, 3.40. I've been travelling for a while and just been to the reception. I'm fairly whacked.

Being in America is hard at first because it is just different enough to be uncomfortable. India or China would maybe be overwhelming. But this is... just a bit off what you expect. In addition, I guess I have a bit of an inferiority complex about America. They have - and this is obvious to anyone with any sense from the moment you get off the plane - they have a lot of stuff right that we just have not yet cottoned on to. They are a rich and powerful and basically contented nation, with a massive sense of purpose. So when I feel uncomfortable with thing X or thing Y, I never know - is it real, or is it just me trying to pick holes? But in any case, I get vibes that make me need to play English music and use sarcasm. Ah well, wherever you go you are never satisfied.

The reception was interesting. People who have successful careers are generally much nicer and more relaxed than people who are still trying to build them. William Jacoby and Saundra Schneider said hello. (They are the guys who gave me my dependent variable, a couple, v. nice.) I went straight through the jetlag and drank beer until I needed to go here, post and sleep. Met some nice people. What I don't like so much is the intellectual conversations you have - where everyone is trying to show off. It seems like an almost inevitable part of academia. I also don't like worrying about what people will think of me, although it seems that as someone who has to do social life very deliberately rather than naturally, there's always going to be a certain amount of artificiality showing through in how I relate to people. So that's just tough, people.

Spent ages trying to find a wireless connection at the airport. Fairly easy at the hotel though.

Manana. Dan's friend Tiffany is going to meet me and we will take her dog for a run. Oh dear, it is a dreadful cliche but it does seem that 20 year olds and people who are still young and struggling with life have got some sort of honesty that we just kind of lose later - until we become carefree old farts....