January 5, 2013

How I spent the winter break between semesters at the University of Wisconsin Law School.

I sat in my Freedom Chair or stood at my motorized desk in front of a wall of picture windows looking out over our snow-covered yard though which a dog occasionally bounded, and — once the blizzard came — went cross-country skiing nearly every day. I ate many delicious meals at home with my beloved husband, and watched some football games on TV. I blogged, read, graded some exams, worked on new syllabi, reorganized a couple closets, and — at long last — burned the rest of the CDs I still cared about into my iTunes.

But my colleague Nina, after going to Poland and back, went to Turkey, and here she is in Alacati attending a fish auction.
We cannot understand what they're saying or how they're bidding, but the very idea of a fish auction is, to me, unusual and therefore cool to watch. The people are keenly tuned to what's on the table.

DSC07996 - Version 2
She can't understand the Alacati fish auction, and I can't understand going to Turkey, let alone Alacati, let alone the fish auction in Alacati.

But that's the thing about the world. There are all kinds of people in it.

48 comments:

Sorun said...

It's not over yet, is it? You can still spend a couple of memorable weeks on Maui.

Shouting Thomas said...

Least stressful job, according to Yahoo... college professor.

Don't mean to suggest any animosity toward this, but I think you might want to remember, particularly when you look at all these workplace issues you write about, that your workplace is remarkably different than the rest of us work in.

And, as I said yesterday, I imagine you have a nice office with no office mates and a big window. Life looks very different in the cube farm.

I've taken a few months off and I'm not at all sure I want to return to full time work. Started out with resolutions to do a lot of things, but I've mostly rested. I think I'll just let my psyche and body find its own level.

Ann Althouse said...

So in the first 2 comments, I'm told:

1. I'm deprived in that I'm not going out traveling, and...

2. I'm overindulged in that I don't have to go out.

Which is it? Am I impoverished or am I rich?

A possibility: I'm neither.

Shouting Thomas said...

How did you get that message out of my post?

What I did suggest is that you might want to confront the reality of what it's like to be forced into close, daily association with people you'd rather not be around, and how different that is from the reality of your workplace.

That makes a big difference in these workplace issues you often confront.

Read Dilbert for reference.

Chip S. said...

A fish auction takes the guesswork out of setting prices for something that you don't want to hold an overnight inventory of b/c it deteriorates quickly. The downside is that all the buyers have to be on the spot at the same time in order to buy (assuming this is retail, as it appears to be, and not wholesale).

Interesting that the bidders are mostly men.

Shouting Thomas said...

Or, since it seems I have to spell it out...

Ideals of tolerance go out the window when you have to sit in a cube with only a plastic wall between you and some dumb kid fresh out of college who wants to sit there all day bragging about how he/she faithfully subscribes to every political correct bit of nonsense (like vegetarianism and gay worship) in which he/she was indoctrinated.

I've actually turned down jobs because of how deep I would be buried in the cube farm.

edutcher said...

Sorun was offering you something else you could do if you've got an extra couple of weeks (which you probably do) and Shout was..., philosophizing.

As for Turkey, I'd go to see the history of the place - Topkapi, St Sophia.

It's a little schizoid right now, so your friend Nina has more nerve than I do.

Understand, we all love your travelogues, but winter in the Upper Midwest can't be a great time to be on the roads, so summer will be here soon enough.

As for the rest of your feelings about travel, that's cool - it's your business.

wyo sis said...

If you can do the things that you like to do for a reasonable percent of the time you are living in a pretty good place. So far, I've always lived in a pretty good place, but the times, they are a changing.

virgil xenophon said...

ST is SO right. Having grown up on a college campus as the son of professors, and as one myself for a short while before I left academia, I can attest to the allure of the Halls of Ivy/Ivory Tower--whatever. Unfortunately my parents taught in the days before college professors were paid the princely sums they are now. Ann has a sweet gig--and knows it. True, she will probably never be "filthy-rich," but she lives a very comfortable life and not likely a candidate to die from a stress-related stroke, either..

Erika said...

I love to travel and have been fortunate enough to have lived in three countries/three states and visited eight countries/fourteen states. The world certainly never fails to fascinate me. At present I don't have the time, money or freedom to travel much, but I love being an armchair traveler at least. Recently read Ryszard Kapuscinski's The Shadow of the Sun, about his time as a correspondent in Africa, and it was riveting, although I understand some people disputed some claims made.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Am I impoverished or am I rich?

You are living a good, contented life and that makes you rich, IMHO.

edutcher said...

You are also happy and in love, which makes you doubly rich.

Seeing Red said...

Which is it? Am I impoverished or am I rich?




Yes.

AllenS said...

You do realize that you've got it exceptionally easy, don't you, Althouse? Not only your pay, which is very generous, but your vacation time is lengthy. Back when I worked, we got Christmas Day off and New Years Day at this time of the year. My best year, I made $38,500.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Ann,

Where are you getting that? Sorun said that "you can still spend a couple of memorable weeks on Maui." Doesn't sound like "deprivation" from here. ST says that you have an office environment that might be reasonably pleasant, in comparison to that of most people doing "office work"; he didn't say that you "don't have to go out."

Inga said...
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Inga said...

Ha and they call me a scold. Quit scolding Althouse for her chosen profession, it's a tough job and someone's got to do it. And I'm sure she does it well and blogs too!

So what if she enjoys her home life in winter, looks cozy and warm.

As for her colleague, you go girl! I love her blog, her travelogues and her little yellow farmhouse stories.

You want stressful? Try being a nurse. Nurses are the target for everyone, administration, the state, the doctor the patient and the patients families. Not even mentioning dealing with life and death, blood, feces, urine, vomit and sputum. Having said that, it is a great profession, but not for the weak.

Sitting in a cubicle sounds relatively pleasant compared to some other jobs.

1/5/13 11:07 AM

wyo sis said...
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Ann Althouse said...

I thought the topic here was: Why travel? Where are you on the continuum of loving/hating to travel and why?

I'm sorry to see this thread be so much about me. What's making that happen? Apparently the first 2 comments skewed the discussion. I put up my comment to try to change that, but I seem to have encouraged it. I regret that.

I think the discussion would be better on the topic stated above.

Talking about me, whether I have a good life, whether I appreciate it sufficiently and so forth... I'd rather not continue in that line of discussion. I think the broader travel topic is much more fruitful.

wyo sis said...

I'll bite.
Why travel?
Not one reason that I can think of except to see grandchildren.

Shouting Thomas said...

I wasn't scolding Althouse, Inga. I was suggesting that issues that she discusses look a lot different from the cube farm than when you're sitting in a nice office of your own with a view.

In some of my jobs, I've had that nice office of my own with a view. So, I know.

I don't begrudge Althouse her success.

The job of a nurse is about as stressful as you can get. Although it pays well, the stress is a killer. I've been through LPN training. You know as well as I do, having spent quite a bit of time out on the floor, that the nursing corps is split between those who work themselves to death, and those who devote themselves to avoiding work (and liability) at all costs. I'm not sure which is the better course to take.

The cube farm work can be pleasant, unless you're stuck next to some idiot who won't shut up, and you're ten rows removed from a window.

Most of the cube farm work can be done just as easily at home, and will be one day. Best way in the world to conserve on gasoline and preserve the environment. I have no idea why it's not happening on a large scale now. Well, I do... but, it's a lengthy subject...

Shouting Thomas said...

On the travel issue, Althouse, I'm sort of with you.

I live in such a nice place that vacations seem unnecessary.

I hate the cold weather now, but I just put in a new wood pellet stove that is keeping me mighty toasty. In fact, it puts me to sleep, usually right in the middle of a basketball game on TV.

My girlfriend and I are thinking of spending a winter in the Philippines in the near future. I could go for that. The family in the Phils will take good care of me and the food will be outstanding. Lots of super fresh fish and BBQ'd squid!

C R Krieger said...

A long time ago my Uncle told me about two men talking, one of whom said he had travelled half way around the world over the summer, seeing this and that, and the other noted that he had made it half way across his back lawn, examining and learning about this and that.  Macro and Micro.

When I was stationed in Naples, Italy, I went to Turkey several times on Temporary DutY (TDY), and each time was impressed by the fact that the people with whom I interacted, from Sergeants to a Four Star General, were interested in pulling their nation up by its boot straps.  Plus, lots of interesting historic stuff to visit.  I think Turkey is a nation to which we should be paying attention.

Regards  —  Cliff

Inga said...

I love traveling, but have been stuck at home for the most part because of cat sitting for my daughter the past year, can't wait to get rid of the dear sweet cat and hop on a plane again. I anticipate many trips out west to CA, one to North Carolina, another to Austin, one to Mississippi, and maybe if I'm lucky Hawaii. No trips planned to Europe this year, maybe in two years with the entire family( when grandkids are a bit older) to see the old countries, Germany, Austria, Croatia and spend some time on the Adriatic.

Nina is a brave soul traveling to Europeand beyond alone, it wouldn't be enjoyable to me.

Deb said...

I absolutely love to travel. I was very fortunate to go to Israel for two weeks in October. We had a private guide, and covered a huge amount of the country, north to Tiberius and south to Masada. We were stuck in Zurich for a week because of the hurricane, could not get back to the east coast so we took advantage of that and saw a bit of Switzerland. I would take a month and travel every year if I had the means to do so. I really do feel like a different person having that experience. I understand there are people who do not like to travel, and I understand that. It can be a hassle. But for me, it is so worth it.

Ann Althouse said...

"I love traveling, but have been stuck at home for the most part because of cat sitting for my daughter the past year, can't wait to get rid of the dear sweet cat and hop on a plane again."

Even though I'm not that big on traveling, this is why I don't want to have a pet. I want to be free to jump in the car and go whenever I want.

And that suggests what I don't like about trips that require planes. You have to commit to leave and return at a specific time, and you have to plan in advance.

I want to be free to declare "road trip" ... or let's not go.

I considered traveling on this break, but I let my own free mind have the room to say yes or no, truly, deeply, and honestly, and what I heard was no.

Deb said...

Pets are a drawback. We have been fortunate to have our daughter's friend house site for us which is much cheaper and better for the animals than kennels.

I will go by plane, train or automobile practically at the drop of a hat.

FleetUSA said...

I'm surprised at the surprise on fish auctions. I am sure they happen hundreds of times a day around the world.

Going to markets in foreign countries is always fun, even U.S. ones too.

As for travel, AA is right when you have a limited time trip it is frustrating. One of the better things about retirement. Trips can be more relaxed and longer.

Ann Althouse said...

"As for travel, AA is right when you have a limited time trip it is frustrating. One of the better things about retirement. Trips can be more relaxed and longer."

My point isn't about the length of the trip, but the commitment to leave and return on preplanned dates and times. That is the case with either a short or a long trip when you go by plane.

"Relaxed and longer"... but it's not "relaxed" when a long trip is boring or you miss the comforts of home and you're tired of looking for a restaurant every time you need to eat or you don't like the weather that happened to turn up.

Michael said...

I am a huge proponent of the short pleasure trip. I have travelled so much for business that I have the travel routine down pat and do not find it stressful. I go to the UK a couple of times a year, usually only for three or four nights. Plenty of time to do what I like to do. Longer trips inevitably have lots of wasted hours transfering to new locations, going to third choice locales and so on.. I would go to Turkey tomorrow if I could.

Michael said...

Oh, and ALL jobs are stressful. Ask anyone about what they do and they will get to the stress part.

Patrick said...

Traveling is fun, but we really like to "travel" near home. I want my kids to be able to see our area like a traveler would. Makes it more fun when we can't go somewhere else.

EDH said...
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EDH said...

Let me try to combine some of the themes here.

In much of the world, they have longer vacation time and don't work as hard as Americans.

They may not be as affluent as Americans, but they have more leisure time to engage in many of life's simple pleasures.

In the US over the last few decades we've seen a new class of elites rise from the "public service" and "caring professions". An oasis of relative affluence, leisure time and long-term financial security has been built around them (to a degree not shared by the toiling private sector masses) largely through their political clout, increased government spending and borrowing. A combination of having your American cake and your European-style vacation time to eat it on, too, all while preening about the sacrifices they've made.

I don't believe it's sustainable.

Inga said...

The top 10 most and least stressful jobs of 2013

Patrick said...

And, without regard to Althouse's "wealth" think of what she's bee talking about. It is all pretty much within the means of most of us. Doesn't take much more than a big heart to borrow a dog and take him to the park.

Inga said...

Sorry Ann, I went off topic again in response to Michael, and guess what is #1 least stressful job?

EDH said...

At least no one has used the word "winter" or "summer" as a verb.

wyo sis said...

Librarian?!
Not in an elementary school, or 5.

Kit said...

Don't really have the option of much impromptu road trips with only a couple weeks of vacation a year, so planning is kind of a necessity.

Going on an island trip next month to celebrate 30 years. Summer will bring another 2-month-plus hiking trip for my retired guy. I'll meet-up via the Empire Builder. Both take some forethought. Retirement for me is a few years off - time and options should open up then.

Inga said...
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ironrailsironweights said...

At least Ataturk is keeping a watchful eye on the fish auction.

Peter

Sorun said...

Sorry I helped ruin the thread. I got caught up in "How I spent..." when it's only about half over.

I went out skate-skiing for the first time today. It won't be long before I'll be yelling, "on your left, Althouse!" That'll be me.

Nini said...

For me, travelling, is a break from my normal routine and therefore I think travelling is a form of escape. And so therefore those who are not big on long distance travel , even though they have the time and money, must really be a very contented lot. Or are they the type who are not so curios enough?

I have lived in 2 countries and visited 3 (the U.S. is in my plan, see, I am a potential contributor to your tourism industry). And we like going to places in our state even just on day trips many times a year. Going to new places are a feast to the senses and you learn how other people in far away places do things their way. Yes, travelling , they say is a means of education. But paradoxically enough, we also learn that people are people, we are all grounded to one human nature, (there is not one kind of people who is a lot nicer and more spiritual than anyone) as an American friend of mine who has lived in a few countries in Asia, Europe and South America begrudgingly told me.

Btw, my 21 year old son, who has saved enough from his very first job, has booked to visit Calif and NY. As a civil engineer, there’s only one city that fascinates him and that's NY.

Nini said...

For me, travelling, is a break from my normal routine and therefore I think travelling is a form of escape. And so therefore those who are not big on long distance travel , even though they have the time and money, must really be a very contented lot. Or are they the type who are not so curios enough?

I have lived in 2 countries and visited 3 (the U.S. is in my plan, see, I am a potential contributor to your tourism industry). And we like going to places in our state even just on day trips many times a year. Going to new places are a feast to the senses and you learn how other people in far away places do things their way. Yes, travelling , they say is a means of education. But paradoxically enough, we also learn that people are people, we are all grounded to one human nature, (there is not one kind of people who is a lot nicer and more spiritual than anyone) as an American friend of mine who has lived in a few countries in Asia, Europe and South America begrudgingly told me.

Btw, my 21 year old son, who has saved enough from his very first job, has booked to visit Calif and NY. As a civil engineer, there’s only one city that fascinates him and that's NY.

Nini said...

And btw, he'll be there by 01 April, so if anyone has travel tips, let me know and I'll pass them on to him. thanks

hawkeyedjb said...

Is that Ataturk watching over the auction? It looks like Vladimir Ilyich van Gogh.

nina said...

To understand the world is difficult. To see things as they are makes it easier. So consider it a short cut to understanding. Imperfect as it is.

(And don't get me wrong -- as you well know, I love home, I love cross country skiing, I love the freedom of structuring my day as I see fit. I'm nearing retirement. There will be time for this as well.)