This entry comes towards the end of a rock star week. The Humber School For Writers offers an intensive seminar in July, and I have taught there several times now. I always enjoy connecting with students, but what makes the Humber gig special is the ... what shall I call it ... ambience. I am a working stiff writer, slaving away in the trenches of literature, quite unused to luxury in my professional life. So it makes a nice change to wake up in a five-star hotel, climb into a limousine and punctuate my teaching day with fine food and wine at the college's expense. And when I say a nice change I mean it never happens to me anyplace else. For a week, I am a star. And it's fun.
I wonder how long it would be fun? I'm serious. I like a deep bathtub and a soft bed as much as the next guy. I'll certainly take a glass of wine. But I have real trouble with being treated as special. The first time the limo driver opens the door for me, I smile and climb in. But after a few days of this treatment I start to wince inside. The students here are so deferential, the perqs so plentiful, the service so eager. The assistants are all incredibly helpful. Anything I can do for you, Richard? Anything you need? Don't worry about me, I want to say. I'm okay. I'll pour my own coffee. I'll sit in the front.
Perhaps if I had grown up in the lap of luxury I would be better able to handle this. But I was on some other part of luxury's anatomy (I bet there's a joke here, but I can't seem to find it. Luxury's elbow? Shoulder? Nope, it's gone. Damn). Perhaps if in addition to being insecure I was also crazed and talented and superrich -- if I was a real rock star -- I could take it all as my due. But I can't. I enjoy the Humber gig, but a week is enough. Tomorrow afternoon I will return to my real life with a sigh that is partly kids/laundry/deadlines/groceries and partly relief.