I finally feel significantly better today after dealing with days and days of strep throat and the resulting cough and shortness of breath. This is usually the time when I’ll excitedly go out for a long bike ride, but I decided to take it easy today so that maybe, just maybe, I’ll actually get better for good. I took the Surly up to campus for work and then back home, a little disappointed by the cloudy sky. I headed back to campus this evening for a lecture by Barbara Ehrenreich. There was a lot going on on campus, so all the bike racks were already full. Man, we need more bike racks. Everywhere needs more bike racks. Make it easy for me to park my bike, please. Anyway, Ehrenreich, who did not appear to have arrived by bike, talked about her new book, Bright Sided, which offers a critique of our culture of positive thinking, that, she argues rightly, I think, ends up blaming individuals for social problems and diverting our attention from the potential of anger to make change. I took this picture afterward, at the reception in the faculty dining room, 1834 Club. We had all finished listening to this woman exhort us to think critically rather than follow the demands that we either have a positive attitude or pay someone to help us find one, but we all became well-disciplined robots when faced with the buffet table line. Everybody just lined up and patiently waited a turn. I don’t know why but it seemed kind of wild. I mean, shouldn’t we all go in, start mingling, rather than lining up just because the first folks did. I stepped out of line and ran to the end to get one of the delicious cheesecake squares and then came back to the line to encourage folks to go ahead, grab a table and a drink, hit the buffet table at will. No luck. Fine. I stood in line, got my stuffed mushroom caps and cheese bits, eschewed the awkward chicken strips, and enjoyed chatting with students and colleagues, then back on the bike to home. I hope I keep feeling better, because man, I miss riding my bike.