Alcibiades 10

For the last year of your life, I could only get you to eat breakfast if we went to Braums or some other kind of greasy spoon. That November morning stands out in one way because it was the last time I got you to eat a full breakfast.

At the restaurant, you sit reading your paper while I order food. Biscuits and Sausage Gravy for us both, and I get some eggs as well. We eat our fast food, while attempting to understand how politics can be so ridiculous at such an important time. The words used by President Bush and his various opponents (Republican or Democrat, American or European) appear to respond to the situation but nothing is said to fill anybody with real calm.

We wander into future plans for study and research. You ask what we should do with the Heidegger Symposium, and I throw out a topic: “Technophysics and the Future of Humankind.” You approve of how I am intertwining Heidegger and Jaspers. We both agree that contemporary American scholarship must help us own up to our responsibility as an imperial super-power.

...We finish up, and then off to school…

Our drive over is about Spring semester and what I will do if my mother gets worse. When we arrive, school buses are just moving away so for once the handicap spaces are not blocked off. I help you out of the car making sure you have your water. We walk through the great open foyer of the EESAT building moving directly toward your target: the North Texas Daily. You ask if I want a copy. I deny its existence in the first place.

We pass between and among the school children lined up for another lesson in environmental science, tomorrow’s adults learning today in their youth to care for an almost dying planet “before its too late.” Already by the time we reach the elevator, you are expressing dissapointment with the student paper and the stated student opinions. A few people in their early twenties, trying to study between classes, look up and smile at the old professor and his wild haired assistant. Yet another stranger compliments my dreadlocks–I think she needs visine and its only 9:30. You wonder, as the elevator closes, why nobody as yet likes your beard. I recall that one of your doctors told me in confidence that your beard looks like a chicken’s ass. But I say, Just don’t shave for five years and let it turn into a rat’s nest; then people will only have the best opinions about how you look… it worked for my dreads at least.

We chat some more in the elevator about what I will do with the next Heidegger Symposium before I transfer it over from UNT to the universities down in Dallas. I relate to you my notion of having a prominent woman scholar in order to see what she makes of Heidegger. You reiterate your opinion that politics and the academy (between which I would never make a fundamental distinction) have no hope of salvation except at the hands of women. We tangle with each other over what you must mean by saying that until we arrive at the office.

…As always the door to our cave is hard to open…

You are impatient to get to work; I am impatient to get done and be away. I finally get the key to turn and the open frame displays the dissaray of our work place. You make your way around the mind field of books and copied text while I sit immediately at my computer to quickly check e-mails. After a while, you ask why I am not gone yet to phenomenology class, and only then do I realize the time, my impatience having given way to comfort. I leave you sitting under the window picking through a book on anarchy. I will not see you again until after Great Books. Today is medieval romances. You, Hank Eaton, and Jim Baird must lead the program students through discussions of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” as well as the ever romantically missing the point, almost had the Holy Grail right in my hands, eternally young Perceval.

…I’m missing something…

Back among my whispers. Are you now playing Fisher King to my epimethean Perceval? Will I look back and see that, while you were with me, there was an overflowing cup of historic knowledge that lent my life purpose, healed my melancholy, and put me on a path for disclosing truth?

…I turn and turn but you are gone…

I am at home again, our home and library; spring birds are cooing outside the window.

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