Before I succumbed completely to whatever virus or bacterium it is that currently has me in its icky clutches, Stephanie from Humanities Researcher and I went out to the University of Western Sydney's Bankstown Campus last Friday as guests of Professor Ivor Indyk's Writing and Society Research Group to talk about blogging and writing and literary criticism. Judith Ridge, who was there, has written about it here at Misrule (found via Matilda).
Stephanie and I are old friends and regular readers of each other's blogs, so it was a different sort of occasion from the usual more formal academic presentation -- something I don't think, after ten years away from the academy, that I could convincingly do any more in any case. (Though it does appear to me that in terms of intellectual influences and fashions, of new habits and modes of theory and critique, time has stood still while beleaguered academics everywhere instead spend their time being forced to do endless, pointless administration, sit on committees, find new ways of raising funds, and get dragged down by the never-ending nightmare of the compulsory ARC grants application cycle as by a giant squid, so perhaps I could.)
Giving a joint presentation with a dear friend is something I recommend highly, and I think it's probably fun for one's listeners as well; it adds an extra (and extra-benign) dimension of performance dynamic and a light blanket of warmth to what can otherwise be quite a challenging situation.
But the session was further complicated for me by the intermittent spinning around of the seminar room as I attempted to deliver my spiel and respond to questions. I'd been flat out meeting deadlines, having assorted dramas and doing various bits of organisation before I left for Sydney and I figured the week of early-warning momentary room spins was just the effects of tiredness and stress, but alas, it wasn't.
Apart from a lifelong predisposition to motion sickness that sees me permanently stocked up on medication for it wherever I go, and a very good thing that has often turned out to be (or not; at least one regular reader of this blog will not have forgotten the unfortunate flight over the Swiss Alps to Florence in 1993), I very rarely catch anything infectious or indeed get sick at all, so the opportunities for pathographyblogging here at Pavlov's Cat have always been thin on the ground.
The last two weeks, however, have been quite something. If you see an infection approaching that appears to include a virulent sore throat, head cold, chest cold, headache and apparent middle/inner ear thingy involving attacks of vertigo lasting, at their height, up to five or six hours and involving violently nauseatingly spinning rooms, and that seems to go on and on and on and bloody on with ever-new and more charming symptoms, tell it you don't want it and to please go away.
Especially if you are alone in a hotel room in a city not your own.
Alternatively, you could try very hard not to get so run down that not even your normally very resistant immune system can repel this little charmer. At least, having checked in with my GP, I'm now at the entertaining stage where I can feel the bug and the drugs fighting it out in my bloodstream.