The problem with starting a blog when I’m off on exotic foreign adventures is that now I feel like many, if not most, of my readers—yes, that’s you, hello! Welcome!—expect non-stop action from my blog, of the kind that only travel can provide: being stalked by a water buffalo, getting so sick I still can’t tell you how sick I got, being serenaded in Arabic by a tour guide. Even my trip this summer, which was tame in blog-fodder compared to Indonesia, provides plenty I could write about: trying to blend in as we stalked a group of Iranian pilgrims through Damascus,
getting dripped on by a giant medieval water wheel,
sleeping on a hostel’s rooftop with this view of Jerusalem,
conquering some medieval castles,
being conquered by other medieval castles,
jumping around medieval ruins,
failing to jump around ancient ruins,
posing with world-famous scenery,
being asked to pose, as if we were world-famous scenery,
surreptitiously trying to pose with Israeli soldiers, because, frankly, they are world-famous scenery,and, through it all, acquiring a pretty good Chacos tan, for someone as pale as me.
But now, most of the months of year, you all are forced to put up with whatever mundanities of American life I can come up with, and I’m afraid my blog must inevitably get dear-diary boring: dear diary, today I woke up. (10 am. It’s still winter break here.) Then I took a shower. Then I ate breakfast. (Apple-cinnamon oatmeal.) Then I spent a long time reading (From Ancient Cham to Modern Dialects: Two Thousand Years of Language Contact and Change, by Graham Thurgood). Then I emailed some people about the conference my classmates and I are organizing. (Dear so-and-so: Hi. I need something.) Then I transcribed some Yurok. Then I transcribed some Ao. Then I worked on a conference presentation. Then I talked with a friend, cleaned my apartment, cooked dinner, read some more (Women and Authority, edited by Maxine Hanks), and some more (In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith, by Todd Compton), and went to bed. Thrilling, I know: who really wants to hear all those details of personal history?
Even my weekends don’t make that much better blog material: I spent this weekend at the LSA's annual meeting, where, in addition to listening to a number of talks, some of which entertained me, some of which bored me, and some of which caused me to fall massively in academic love with a certain German typologist, I volunteered, in exchange for free registration, to be a perky registration desk volunteer and, later, to ignore my duties as a room monitor by falling asleep in the hallway. (Yes, at the largest and most important professional conference in my field. I have got to work on that.) And let’s see, what else? I finished Rough Stone Rolling, which felt like a major victory in our time; I saw a 5000-person protest downtown about the violence in Gaza; I watched a movie with one friend and spent an evening hanging out with another; I visited the singles ward in the city, where the girl I sat next to in Relief Society gasped, after only two or three minutes of conversation, “Oh, I've got someone you just have to meet!”; and I ate dinner with my Eritrean next-door neighbors, who barely speak English but who are, as far as I can tell, very nice. (Actually, these last two incidents made me feel like I was abroad again: possibly nothing encapsulates my experiences in foreign countries more than not understanding dinnertime conversation and being set up by strangers. If only I had also had a violent stomach illness, I would have felt right away from home.)
I’m not complaining about any of this: I like my life right now, especially the part where it's still winter break, but it doesn’t make for very interesting reading or writing. I have a post-it note on my computer with a whole list of other things to blog about—things that automatically make me cry (when they sing the Marseillaise in Casablanca; the scene where the baby is born in Children of Men; film strips of World War I), why I’m addicted to the New York Times’ wedding announcements section (anthropologically speaking, it’s a fascinating glimpse into the personal and professional lives of the nation’s elite. Plus I’m a romantic.), why I want to marry an immigrant so he can get a green card (why let my citizenship go to waste?), and what happened that one time my brothers and I rearranged all the furniture when our parents went out for the evening (they didn’t think it was as funny as we did)—but most of those things really merit no more than the passing mention I just gave them.
So where does that leave me, besides not blogging very regularly? I’m not sure. I could rehash more travel stories in entries like this one, thinly disguised as being relevant, but that fools no one. I could engage in more scholarly discussion about linguistics, but I do that so much already, or about religion, politics, or literature, but no one cares, and, plus, I don't have the time or energy. I could tell more jokes (what’s brown and sticky?), include more cute pictures of my mom's dog, beg my readers for post ideas (anyone?), post some of the innuendo-laden limericks I write (There once was a city called Sodom...), but those options are unoriginal, cliche, pitiful, and inappropriate--I mean, come on! My grandma reads this!
So I guess I am left with this: dear diary, today I woke up. Then I took a shower. Then I ate breakfast. Then I blogged. And now, internet, you know it all.