Ancrene Wiseass

A would-be medievalist holds forth on academia, teaching, gender politics, blogging, pop culture, critters, and whatever else comes her way.

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Yes, this really is yet another blog by a disillusioned grad student. I sympathize, but that's just the way it has to be. For hints as to what my bizarre alias means, click here and here and, if needed, here and here. To get a sense of what I'm up to, feel free to check out the sections called "Toward a Wiseass Creed" and "Showings: Some Introductory Wiseassery" in my main blog's left-hand sidebar. Please be aware that spamming, harassing, or otherwise obnoxious comments will be deleted and traced.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

A Friendly Warning, Preceded by a Conversational Transcript

Russian cab driver: So, you study here at the university?

: Yes.

Cab driver:
What is it you study?

(Knowing that this sort of conversation generally does not go well, trying desperately to deflect him with generalities.) I'm working toward a degree in English.

Cab driver:
Tell me, you are American?

(A bit suspicious, because I suspect the answer to that question is pretty clear) Well, yes.

Cab driver:
So why you are studying English? You know it already, right?

(Exasperated and trying to camouflage it by sounding overly chipper.) Yes, but I'm studying the literature, rather than the language.

(Long pause, during which the driver's smirk is clearly perceptible in the rear-view mirror.)

Cab driver:
(Triumphantly, confidently--he's reached his punch line now.) Tell me, where you are going to work with this degree?

(Really, really glad we're pulling up to the curb where he'll let me out, and really, really pissed off that I don't have smaller bills so I can avoid tipping him.) I'm going to be a professor. I will work at a university. I'm not sure which one yet; I have to see who's hiring when I've finished my degree.

Cab driver:
Hmpfh. (Long pause.) Well, good luck with that.

(Exiting the cab, having given him my $20) Yeah, good luck to you, too . . . (under breath as car door slams and I walk away) . . . Asshole.


Dear readers, I caution you to avoid such exchanges at all costs, less you cause your graduate-student interlocutor to instantly pass through all stages of her Threat Advisory and immediately reach her Wide Berth/Code Red Level. Also please remember that it is not inconceivable that you will one day encounter a graduate student who is also a black belt in Jiu-jitsu. Or at least one who's had enough conversations to convince her to start taking lessons.