I have never been to a place where there is as much free food as DePauw. This week alone I have had:
1) lovely wine and cheese and other nibbles at the Antigone reading group out at the Prindle Institute on Monday night.
2) soup and salad and brownies at a teaching roundtable lunch on Tuesday, focused on the topic "Are quiet students really a problem?"
2) lovely wine and cheese and other nibbles at the reading group I'm leading on Susan Wolf's book Meaning in Life and Why It Matters on Tuesday night; food included amazingly delicious and nutritious Boulder Bars made by our two Prindle graduate fellows who are also co-CEOs of the fledgling company C & J Foods.
4) another soup and salad lunch (different soup this time) on Wednesday for faculty who are planning proposals for Winter Term study abroad courses (I'm trying to plan one called "Protected Places and Enchanted Spaces: Children's Literature Sites in London, Oxford, and Paris").
5) extremely elegant wine and hors d'oeuvres reception that afternoon for Piper Kerman, author of the memoir Orange Is the New Black on which the hit TV series is based.
6) even more elegant dinner for Piper Kerman and some forty students and faculty that evening.
7) sumptuous lunch today at Gobin church after a worship service where the preacher was Dr. Otis Moss III, pastor of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, with the sermon title: "#blacklivesmatter."
8) lavish breakfast AND lunch tomorrow for participants and judges (me) in the all-day high school Ethics Bowl hosted by Prindle.
And this is just one week!
Now of course the question arises: are these really FREE lunches, breakfasts, and dinners? For there is said to be no such thing. It's true that the "price" for these meals is attendance at these free and fabulous events. But that seems to me no price at all. And the "price" for getting to participate in all these free and fabulous events, for me, is being a visiting professor, which means teaching what I love to motivated students and pursuing scholarly and creative work of my own choosing.
Well, the cost is also creeping weight gain from the food and periodic exhaustion from the events. I've gained two pounds already, a combination of nonstop feasting and lack of exercise (because I'm devoting all the time I would have spent walking at all these reading groups, discussions, and lectures). I'm behind on the book I have due on February 15, which is barely more than a week away.
So I'm chubby but contented, exhausted but exhilarated. And that's okay. I might as well cram each day of my all-too-brief semester here as full as I can of intellectual stimulation - and cram my tummy full, too.