It’s for those days when you are supposed to be flying to Milan to give a talk, and you are connecting and when you are checking in to your connecting flight and you pull out your passport thinking wistfully about how much you love your wife for thoughtfully packing your passport for you and just generally breathing in the beautiful life you have to be able to take a little time away to fly to Milan, meet people, give a talk, do a little work on your laptop which is tucked away in your suitcase because you are getting on a redeye and you plan to sleep on the plane, you’ll get that work done while you are in your hotel in Milan, or maybe you won’t because you might just stroll the city and enjoy a little solitude, putting out of your mind the hundreds of job market letters of recommendation that you have to submit online to hundreds of distinct websites each with their own password amounting to about 3 hours of work just logging in, figuring out what to click, copying and pasting passwords, etc and also taking the opportunity to just let your mind wander and think abiut whatever, sorry hordes of coauthors whom I have left in the lurch I know I am already a maddeningly irresponsible partner but please permit me a couple more days after all I am in Europe and for all you know I don’t have Internet access or I am scheduled to be meeting with people all day long and wouldn’t have time to correct thirty pages of typos or rewrite the introduction for the third time because after being rejected at journals 1 and 2 we better write it in the way that journal 3’s referees are going to like; and anyway I need a little escape to get over the sting of those rejections and this time to myself in a faraway European city is just what the doctor ordered and that brings an extra smile to my face as I open up my passport to show to the friendly TSA agent and that smile and it’s associated feeling of intoxication explains why it’s the TSA agent who is the first to notice that the picture on the passport is of my lovely wife and not me.

And my passport is back home in chicago, and I am not getting on this plane and I am not going to Milan today and the only time I am going to be having by myself is stuck in this airport trying to figure out how I am going to get that passport to me from Chicago and all the while fighting back the relentless thoughts of what a ridiculous life I am living, flying to Europe for two days just to give a pointless talk wasting all this time while my students still don’t have their application letters uploaded and all those papers need to be revised and I am sure my coauthors think I am a useless primadonna, and after these recent rejections I know I will never have a top 5 publication again and I won’t even be getting any work done because my laptop is soon going to fly without me to Milan,

It’s for those days, you know those days, it’s for those days that you are so thankful that your connection was through Newark airport and Manhattan Penn Station is a 30 minute train ride away, and you have that favorite little hotel on midtown which has a room for $129 and so what you don’t have any clothes and you will have to buy a toothbrush for what like $30 at a pharmacy in the middle of manhattan but to make up for all of that when you wake up in the morning you will get your stroll and ok it’s smelly New York but look Milan was going to be smelly too you were just fantasizing that stroll anyway and 1 block into that stroll you stumble onto Cafe M, a tiny cafe’/bakery on 32nd and 5th avenue where the coffee is lovingly made one at a time the croissants are the best you have ever had, certainly in the US and arguably rivaling even Paris, beautiful oneofakind people come in and out as you sit each with their own unique beautiful lives and you can sit and enjoy that coffee and croissant and listen in on their lives as they pass through 5 minutes at a time and what better life can one person have than to sample the uncanny diversity of life and where else can you get such a sample as in New York City.

(blogged from my phone)