Nomadic Atlas

by Carson Reynolds

The last few months have found me living out of a backpack and duffle bag. I’ve depended on the kindness of Enrico, Andrea, Jeana, Steven, and Greg who have each let me live in their places. Living as a nomad is both frustrating and liberating. I have a miniature footprint, I use a Mac Mini whilst temporarily consulting, I don’t have a permanent address; I am a Ph.D. hobo.

All this flux is in preparation for what has become certain: I will take a position at the University of Tokyo. It’ll be a research faculty position; I won’t be able to teach as a professor until I can lecture in Japanese.

I have traveled to Mobile, Alabama (for my cousin Sarah’s wedding and some unplanned waterskiing), to Paris, France (for a nice exhibition of Cassandre, some fasting, and some confusion) and to New York (to catch up with Matt and Nick). I’ve climbed a bit in New Hampshire (last weekend there was an accident and one of the folks who was with us needed to be carried out with a broken ankle). I’m writing from Miami, where I’ve spent quality time with my brother Jay seeing the city at night (ordering liquor by the bottle) and day (watching hurricanes roll past us through the Caribbean).

Picking through my friend’s libraries I’ve read Blood Meridian (surreal masculine intensity), The Corrections (pop symbolism), and Cloud Atlas (ponderous recursions). I saw Quintron and Ikiru both due to some random spontaneity.

The good story I have to offer for the time period is as follows. As part of the experiments for my dissertation funds were given to charities as part of the incentives. So at the end of my thesis, I needed to make a large number of donations to charities of people’s choosing. As such, I set some mornings aside and processed the donations. In the middle of the process I got a call from my credit card company. The conversation was roughly as follows:

“Mr. Reynolds, have you been making a lot of donations?”

“[Laughing] Let me guess, I set off some alarm in the computer?”

“[Seriously] Did you make these donations to the World Wildlife Fund and [pause] Save the Children?”

“Yeah, those are on my behalf.”

Apparently, my credit card company knows I am not a charitable person.

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