I felt after the on campus interview how I felt after the interview at the convention. OK, I guess. I would feel bad if I didn’t get the job. That would be for sure. But I wouldn’t feel as if it had been a complete waste of time. Because I felt I had made however briefly one of those human connection sort of things.
The talk was alright, I guess. Though I don’t remember anything I talked about but quite a few faculty persons were there and some graduate students. Not exactly a monstrous crowd. But that was fine with me.
And then a couple of them said they were going to take me out to dinner. I would have preferred, given my dazed state of mind, to go back to the rustic motel, eat something in the wainscoted dining room, and then hit the hay. But they were nice people and wanted to show me around a bit and took me to the Saint Louis Golden Arch down by the river, and through a few neighborhoods and we talked about the price of homes. At that time you could get a place that was not a complete dump for around 75 K and a damn mansion for 120K.
We end up at a restaurant that called itself a bistro or something like that. They had wanted to do me the courtesy of taking me somewhere that served “California” food, whatever the hell that was. At this place California food seemed to be a good wine selection, dishes with lots of lettuce in them, fish, and relatively small portions. I would have preferred a pork chop, but when in Rome do as the Roman’s do so I ate California food right their in Saint Louis.
I don’t know what they thought of the food but they sure did like the wine, and after a bit we started to talk more openly. One of them was a big shambling guy, with thinning hair, a big face and an ernest manner. I think he may have been Irish. Also present was a female faculty person who was definitely Irish I remember. Somehow it popped up that the female faculty person was formerly a nun. I was pretty impressed by that. A Catholic institution hiring somebody who was formerly a nun seemed pretty open minded to me. Though what do I know, and as the evening wore on I heard about the gay faculty member and the lesbian faculty member who was not the lover of the ex-nun. She was straight but hadn’t married.
Damn, I felt right at home. These people were a bunch of nuts. And earlier in the day, I had taken a walk and had a smoke with the big, shambling guy, and I was talking along something about education, and he said out of the blue, “Man, you really are an idealist.” “Yes, I guess so,” I said a bit sheepishly but not embarrassed or humiliated because the way he said the word “idealist” suggested he didn’t think being one was entirely a bad thing.