Friday, March 13, 2015

Now this is touching the future

Apparently I've been at this job long enough that not only are my former students marrying other former students, but they're opening their own cocktail bars.

Cha-Cha City has a modest wealth of appealing bars and restaurants, but not so many that there aren't dead spots in the week--nights when it seems like everything is either closed or shuts up early--and what with family schedules and teaching nights, my colleagues and I have struggled to find an appealing midweek standby. So we gave our old student's new place a whirl: to support an alum, try something different, and maybe add it to the rotation.

And oh, it's added. This bar is one straight-up, nerd-cool, English-major fantasy.

Every bar should  have a rolling library ladder

I don't know what other professors fantasize about their students doing with their lives; I mostly just want mine to be happy and secure members of the middle class (who hopefully still derive pleasure from books and movies and plays). But if I had a self-serving fantasy, one that made me feel good about myself and my proximity to talent, it wouldn't be for my students to go on to get PhDs themselves or write critically-acclaimed novels or work for the New York Times or get elected to the Senate. It would be for them to do something very much like this.

One of the pleasures of teaching at a regional institution is contributing to that region in a sustained and multi-layered way. My students teach in the urban and suburban school districts. They fix up old houses, work at local nonprofits, open their own businesses. Those are their achievements, not mine--but they benefit me. They make the place I live better. They enmesh me in a meaningful network of connections.

I may not be from here, or staying here, or have roots much of anywhere. But part of putting down roots in a place is knowing and supporting those who do.

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