I haven't a picture worthy of the prize that I was to win, after admitting, in jest, that I was younger than the recent medical school graduate (as I believe, indeed, she must have been). She was more fit to recline into afternoon stares and regress, as an optional course, into diatribes of what appeared to be (from content of course not from behavior) only casual anger--mediated, I suppose, by the continual faculty conflict. A conflict, I was to learn ever so shortly, rooted in personal hostility and manifested only in academic pursuits:
"We do not suppose that X and Z were correct to conclude that the individual definitions of stately unrest would supercede the collective definitions of spiritual fullfillment, nor do we deign to suggest that their unreasonable analysis of interstate dependence offers any productive measure of social capital, both informally and formally."
Which, I noted, also accidently, presented itself in strict opposition to the radical position of the generalists. Their response, quite succinct:
"Yet again, G and H fail to recognize the empirical data which clearly undermines their rather crude and inadequate analyses."
I wasn't to be her younger counterpart but it seemed ultimately, if I were to succeed in anything at all, I mean really succeed, I should begin to engage in the discussion, to find a knob or a door or a small window and expand it into a room, even a building, a discipline. That was my thinking, rather ingenious yes? I thought so too, rather clever, I considered, never once uncovering the land dispute that sat at the center of the argument, a fourteen acre lake front property in upstate New York--she was aghast at the theft. But I never knew. I mean I really never knew that it was all about a summer home.
Two summer homes.
And a half century behind a curtain. I never thought I could be a patsy in a university. I mean it sounded too much like a novel and I don't even pretend to entertain narratives, not at this rate. Hmph, a half a century behind a curtain and I still can't tell how they managed to make that argument work. All for fourteen acres on Lake George.