1) At the philosophy conference in uptown Charlotte, all morning I help register professors and students; I hand them a name tag and give them a hard time when they mispronounce my name. I send them in the correct direction towards their prospective presentations. I smile a lot. I arrange books that are on sale for eight dollars. I put my hair up, and get bored. I put my hair down and leave my bangs up. I get to pick a free book from the Fordham University Press stand and grab one titled “Thinking in Dark Times.” I like to pretend that I am a “thinker” in “dark times” but I know better than to keep lying to myself.
2) I sit through Maurice Hamington’s paper on Care Ethics and ask him about normative issues. He gives me his card after the panel is over and I slip it inside my purse where I will never find it again. Later in the evening I sit through a panel about Immigration in America. I fall under a five minute love spell with a man who reads with a Mexican-American accent. He asks me where I am from after the panel and I lie to him and say “Brazil.” We talk about the movie “Brazil” instead but I am not listening to him because I am hungry, I am always hungry. As the conference ends I stop by the reception table, grab a handful of cookies, and stuff them inside my purse, to have for dinner later, with a glass of milk.
3) My car is parked one mile away from the hotel where the conference takes place. This was my attempt to avoid parking fees. I refuse a ride once the conference is over and walk one mile back to my car as the sun sets against the few skyscrapers of this unreal city. The streets get more deserted as Tremont turns into Elizabeth Avenue, and I walk under a bridge, under I77, and the rain falls over rooftops and floods the cracks in the pavement.
Here is when I realize that I have loved this world of Philosophy in all its enthralling arguments that lose meaning as soon as on leaves the classroom. I have loved the stuffiness of libraries and dust, the irrevocable proofs. And I am about to exchange it for a Masters in Spanish and bilingual education, for the certainty of a teaching job in NYC, because I am utterly tired of stuffing cookies inside my purse after conferences to relieve my hunger. Because being a "thinker" in "dark times" is not as charming as my hardcover book makes it to be.
4) I want to write a short piece, titled “Goodbye to All of That II” telling you, journal, that when I mention to others, to my parents, how things are not working out in Charlotte for me anymore. When I mention how I only get job offers to make coffee, or to watch other people’s kids. That most of my friends talk about moving, always, to NYC. That the Masters program in Philosophy is not the same anymore, and that I am tired of being poor. I don’t really mean that Charlotte is not working out for me anymore.
What I mean is that I was very young in Charlotte, and at some point things stopped glistening, and the fond memories began decreasing. And the sleepy rhythm of the south ceased, and I am just not that young anymore.
That's all I mean.
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