Introspection

Category archives for Introspection

Wolf Hound and Dachshund

We interrupt this transmission for some adolescent self-examination. My high school Swedish teacher – I’ve forgotten her name – played the saxophone and kept an Irish wolf hound. They’re pretty wussy creatures as a rule, but my teacher’s pet was extreme. She explained that though big as a calf, the dog had been brought up…

White Linen Granny

Certain experiences during my mid-teens a quarter of a century ago left me with this strong Pavlovian reaction to a ladies’ perfume called White Linen. It’s not very popular any more, and not at all among young women. So imagine my moment of confusion when without warning a whiff of White Linen hits me at…

Avuncular

Teaching 20-year-olds for the past term has begun to make me feel a little avuncular. But yesterday I had this sudden surge in my avuncularity. First, in the morning I finally took the step of shaving the sparse fuzz remaining on my forehead all the way up to the coronal suture. (That’s the lateral seam…

Postcard from Hazor

My cousin Annika kindly forwarded me this postcard from a budding archaeologist just out of high school and on his first dig. I translate: * Hazor-Haglilit July 15th, 1990, 12:05 [Sunday] Shalom! Mainly I’m digging. At the same time we exchange some language teaching – my new Israeli acquaintances call each other “whitstevell” in passing…

Birthday Party Speech

For forty years I’ve been one of the most fortunate people I’ve ever heard of. Starting from the global perspective, there is of course hardly a single country on Earth where people live under such good conditions as in Sweden. This goes for all of us here tonight. If we had ended up somewhere else,…

Investing Your Twenties

A pop musician’s and a mathematician’s twenties are a precious part of their life. During those ten years of early adulthood, there seems to be a residual childlike creativity or randomness in the brain at a time when a person has had a chance to amass skills and experience. In some fields, the window in…

Drugs and Me

In the podcast liner notes to his new album (starting at 14:21), George Hrab talks to Milton Mermikidis for a space about how neither of them does any heavier drugs than caffeine. I realised that in close to five years of blogging, I’ve never talked specifically about my own drug abstinence, though I’ve mentioned a…

Blackbird Evensong

On Friday the blackbirds opened their concert season. Here’s what I wrote about them four years ago. Oh, still my heart — I just heard the year’s first blackbird serenade! I opened the kitchen window a crack and listened to it while having my evening sandwich and cup of rooibos. I love the blackbird. It…

Cute Train Lesbians

A funny intermezzo caught me Saturday on the train from Brussels to Liège. Across the aisle, two young pretty lesbian couples were seated. And they spent most of the ride necking furiously. I suppose that as a het male I might have been expected to feel some kind of perturbation or arousal at the sight.…

Chasing after the Wind

I was brought up to believe that I am special. I was told that I am unusually smart and gifted. Whether or not this is true, it has given me a deep-seated expectation of myself to do great(ish) things, to achieve a bit more than the average Joe, to stand out from the crowd, to…