Post Academic

Communication breakdown: A Post Academic with nothing to say

Posted in Absurdities,First Person by Arnold Pan on November 5, 2010
Tags: ,

I mentioned last time how the flip side of no longer possessing the academic gift for gab is that I find myself pretty much unable to chit-chat in any situation any more–great, I have to go to a wedding of someone who’s barely acquaintance tomorrow!  I know, I know, it’s probably hard to believe that I’m so tongue-tied when meeting new folks, considering how I can be a virtual blabbermouth.  But when I’m at a kids party or some kind of get-together where I only know the hosts, you best believe I’m camping out at the buffet, chowing down on the Trader Joe’s snacks or the greasy pizza.  To be honest with you, I’d probably find it hard being at a gathering of people I know these days, though it’s tough to say since it’s not like I’ve been around my party of my peeps or even talked to them on the phone since the summer.

"Conversation by Friedrick Moosbrugger" (Public Domain)

Anyhow, based on a sampling of Halloween events and birthday parties I’ve recently attended, here are some of the reasons why I find “real world” shindigs somewhat more difficult for me to deal with–though the real explanation might be just that I’m a misanthrope.

(Not) finding the common ground: When an academic is released into the wild…er, life outside of the ivory tower…adaptation to a different environment can be difficult.  Within the sorta friendly confines of academia, you might not like everyone you know, but at least you have something built-in to talk about that’s based on some kind of shared interest.  Even now in a post academic stage, I find I can easily slip into some whiny complaint about the academic job market when I run into an acquaintance because that’s something I know how to do.

More to say about having not much to say, below the jump…