Contents Disappointed Utopia Interlude


Figure 40: It was September of my second year in France.
Figure 40: It was September of my second year in France.

The light spreads out on the ceiling, an abyss of grooves between the planks running off from the eye towards the dawn. The light comes through little clumps and dots into this, my fifth bedroom since starting fieldwork, a low space seen from the bed up on its loft, smushed almost into the ceiling. It’s early morning, and the windows of the neighboring apartments are all dark but one. I’m all anxiety and helplessness and anxiety about anxiety, and the dark feelings are fighting against my sleepiness and my desire to be ok and my longing for some sort of new effervescence, for something not lonely. I’m lonely but I have a vivid memory of what it was like not to be lonely, to have a partner, some part of me feels sure that all that will happen again someday, how could it not? and it’s kind of comforting to imagine that.

Mind wandering. This was supposed to be a note about fieldwork anxiety, how dysfunctional it makes you, how paralyzed, how omnipresent that anxiety is. How much of a failure I am as an ethnographer, how much I didn’t write down, how much I was overwhelmed.

But the dawn is tempting: wouldn’t it be nice to put down my notebook and go out into the early light?

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