It’s Always Humid in Philadelphia

I can’t get enough of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I watched some recent episodes during our trip to Minnesota. After thirteen seasons, the show still makes me laugh. Old Lady House was too much. Delightful madness.

I spent a night in Philadelphia last week. It was my first time. Always sunny? No. Always humid. Pennsylvania is a sauna these days. Take my perspiration, please.

Incidentally, I stopped at a hotel in Richfield, Ohio on our drive home from Minneapolis two weeks ago. Needed a break after fifteen hours in the car. Richfield isn’t much to write home about. And I’m worried there’s sex trafficking ring in the local Subway. But the hotel had a pool. So Solomon and Samson were satisfied.

“What’s that?” Solomon asked as I floated in the chlorinated water with him. He was pointing to a sauna.

“It’s a sauna,” I told him. “People go in there to sweat.”

“Gross,” he said.

“Yes.”

Anyway, Philadelphia reminded me of that sauna. Muggy.

***

I drove to Philadelphia last week. Four hours in the car was nothing after my previous sixteen-hour pilgrimage to Minneapolis. A colleague from Penn State Altoona accompanied me. We met up with a professor I collaborate with at UNC – Charlotte. Erin and I are taking over as co-editors of the Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy in 2020. My colleague at Penn State Altoona is chair of the publishing committee for the Curriculum and Pedagogy Group. So Taylor and Francis invited the three of us to their Philadelphia office for training.

Very professional.

Taylor and Francis is an enormous publishing company. My academic book, Whiteness, Pedagogy, and Youth in America came out with Routledge, which is part of Taylor and Francis, two years ago. They’ve cornered the market on academic work. So it was cool to travel to the belly of the beast. See how the sausage is made. Academic sausage.

Philadelphia is quite a city. Liberty bells and statues of commodores. I ate sushi, tapas, and Asian fusion. I even went to an Iron Chef’s restaurant. It was delicious to be in a big city, with all sorts of interesting places to eat. State College specializes in pizza and beer. Sometimes I think I live in a glorified fraternity. Or sorority. Hashtag gender.

Aside from gaining forty-five pounds, I spent last Tuesday on the 8th floor of an office building learning how to be a co-editor. People were divided by cubicles. They drank coffee and wore ties. I sat at a very large table in a very large conference room with a very large view of Independence Hall. It was very adult.

Most of my working life has happened in classrooms, surrounded by exuberant, volatile youth. So an office provided a strange alternative to my experience with adulthood. When I got bored with the training, and I often get bored by trainings, I fantasized about being a young professional in the city. Walk to work from my nearby flat. Stop off for coffee. Hit up a sushi place on the way home. A regular Ally McBeal.

Okay, the Ally McBeal reference is crazy. It couldn’t be more dated, and I’m not even sure that it works. And all the links I keep inserting into this blog? It’s really too much. Delightful madness.

***

I’ve spent the last two weeks traveling. I’m really out of my routine. I haven’t been writing much. I had to skip two improv shows. I feel behind.

It’s good to break patterns, to escape routines. I can get so caught up in my immediate circumstances that it’s hard to see the forest through the trees. The tapas restaurants through the office buildings. The sex trafficking rings through the Subway restaurants along I-80. That last sentence went too far. Forgive me, I’m out of my routine.

Anyway, I know that it’s good to shake things up. Seek a different perspective. Even if shaking things up means driving for hours (and hours) through the rust belt, gliding along freeways beneath oppressive clouds of exhaust and smog. What a country. What an age.

It’s the end of June. I’m home now. I can settle into writing. Or writing. Or writing. Or improvising. Or inserting links into any word I can.

Or parenting. Spending humid afternoons in our green backyard, in this green Pennsylvanian summer. That feels like the most important way to break my working routine of the last six months. To deviate from professional adulthood. Find some delightful madness.

Delightful madness?

Solomon and Samson are upstairs as I finish this blog, blowing whistles, and chasing each other around the house. In their underwear. Delightful. Madness.

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