Tenured Radical tagged me for a meme evolved by Squadratomagico (hard to spell for a non-medievalist)—listing things you wonder about. (I am relieved to realize that only half of mine fall into Flavia’s umbrella of “why doesn’t the rest of the world behave the way I do?”).

1.    Why are certain words more fun? Like, for example, wonderments. The sound of “wonder” just seems to carry that wide-eyed looking around feeling. The sharp dagger K of “kill” meshes with the meaning. “Serendipity” is just plain enjoyable to say, possibly for serendipitous reasons.

2.    Why do people wear sandals that are too small? When your toes are hanging off the front edge, your shoes don’t fit. I don’t care if they are the right size and it’s just the height of the heel making your foot slide forward. They still don’t fit.

3.    Why do people say things like “why don’t you have a boyfriend?” and “why don’t you want to go out with me?” (not the same people, usually) What can they possibly be expecting to hear in reply? “Because I’m unattractive.”? “Because you’re unattractive.”?

4.    Why are public relations people bad at their jobs? I’ve read PR announcements that provoked more questions than they answered, and press releases that did not bother to spin the material to defuse anger at all. Isn’t it the responsibility of PR people to make an entity look good, not worse? Universities seem to be prime offenders here.

5.    Why do I sweat when I teach? New Kid brought this up in a non-meme post, saying she only sweats in the summer. Me, I sweat always, every day, all winter, when teaching. I’ve completely given up on teaching in anything with sleeves, though sometimes I get ten minutes into a class before I strip off the cardigan. I think it’s psychological nervousness, or possibly more a sign of all the psychic energy I’m expending.

6.    Why do I read so many blogs by medievalist women? I’m not a medievalist. A lot of this, of course, is self-perpetuating—I read one blog and they link to other blogs which I then pick up. But I get the impression that other fields don’t quite have the critical mass of blog community that medieval does—I don’t see conglomerations of blogs on British history in the same way, it seems.

7.    I frequently wonder about the nature of community. As an undergrad, my friends and I had several conversations that diagrammed the various communities we saw at college. And of course, this blog largely exists because if I wanted to join the community of other academic bloggers, lurking and leaving comments, I needed a base to do it from—even though I don’t comment all that much.

8.    Similarly, I wonder about friendship. Medieval Woman’s wonderments included How many more good friends will I make in my lifetime? How many more do I need? But I wonder how it is that I can invite 50 people to a party but not have anyone to call on a Sunday afternoon that unexpectedly turned into a beautiful day (partial answer—I don’t know enough single people, who are much easier to randomly call).

Okay, whom to tag? I think I’ll pass, since the people who’ve not done the eight facts meme seem to be out of town….

This took some time—I had to read other answers and questions, think about what my questions are, find any related links, and put it all together. A long post—I actually had to go to MS Word to compose it. Normally, I don’t like memes (sometimes not even reading them) but this is much more fun than the eight facts meme!