Tonight, Paul and I had dinner with a visiting faculty member. For the non-academics reading this, a visiting faculty member is a professor so talented and intelligent that they are asked to spread their knowledge over many universities. They are so brilliant at their profession that other universities seek them out and pay them to leave their sunny locale and brave the February wind, cold and snow of South Bend to share their wealth of knowledge with other academic nerds. And they readily agree to it. Maybe they aren't so smart, after all.
So, I lined up a sitter, put on dress pants, Spanx, makeup and jewelry and headed out. This professor is very charming, kind, intelligent and gracious. I've met him many times and was looking forward to the night. He does not have an arrogant or rude bone in his body. Otherwise, I would have been in my jammies and watching bad re-reruns while Paul schmoozed with academia aristocracy. Nope, I suited up and planned to enjoy my free meal, thanks to the Notre Dame expense account. "We" sipped wine and chatted about business practices, executive education and corporate strategy. Ok, I'll confess. They chatted about those things while I studied the specials menu. The professor turned to me and commented, "Paul tells me that you are a writer. What do you write?". Gulp. "I write a blog about my life - parenting challenges, being a stay-at-home mom, sibling rivalry, potty training, homework. What does your wife do?". His reply? "She is a dean at (insert fancy university name here).". Conversation screeched to a halt. What could I possibly say to that without sounding like the world's biggest moron? (I really want to know because I know this situation will happen to me again). Ok, I didn't just fall of the turnip truck. I attended and graduated from college. I worked in professional capacity for 10 years. I wore suits, attended meetings, collected a paycheck, had billable hours and gossiped around the water cooler. But, for the last 8 years, I have been changing diapers, making bottles, telling bedtime stories, playing Barbies and Legos, and reading "Goodnight Moon". Maybe next time I am asked what I do, I will reply that I am the Dean, Director, CEO and COO of the Velasco organization. I'm in management and everyone else is in labor. And they better not even thinking about going on strike. And maybe I'll the twice before agreeing to a "free" dinner.