Day 7: Dissertating to A Fine Frenzy’s “The World Without”

Yeah, yeah. Two days in one. I’m trying to catch up.

Dissertating is my event. That’s actually putting it pretty mildly. I was ABD when we moved to Texas in December ’08, found out I was pregnant in March, found out I had a dissertation-year fellowship in April. Because my dissertation required fieldwork in Oklahoma City, a 3-hour drive from where we live in Dallas, I had until the end of September when I’d be 35 weeks along and no longer able to travel to get that particular part of my dissertation completed. This meant for 10 weeks straight over the summer of 2009, more and more pregnant, I commuted to OKC from Dallas, spending usually two nights with my mom while Eric held down the fort with Katie back home.The way I see it, I was pregnant with two different children that summer.

I liked the drive, because I got to think and spend time by myself. Believe me, I have that drive memorized: I know the exit numbers for every Starbucks (in other words, for iced chai lattes and bathroom breaks), the exact amount of time it should take to get to Gainesville, and then to Ardmore, to Wynnewood, to Paul’s Valley, to Purcell, to Norman, and then, to my mom’s house. But every time I hit the Oklahoma border, approximately 60 minutes into the trip, I popped in A Fine Frenzy’s album, Bomb in a Birdcage. About the time I’d hit the Turner Falls area, about Exit 51 or so (and for those who know I-35, they know this is the fried pie exit), this song would be on. Winding through the Arbuckles, radio blaring, thoughts racing, Zuzu knocking around my tummy, I listened to this CD. And when I still make that trip or listen to that CD, I still think of that summer, racing against time to get my dissertation done, driving back and forth through those rocky hills.

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