Bumped into Michael in the Pick – my first night there in weeks, probably his last in months, and when I mentioned I’d been to the Athabasca Tar Sands in Alberta the week before last, he revealed that his father had developed and exploited a radio / radar based probe for surveying tar sand deposits in Alberta in the 70’s.
Michael also revealed that he’d experienced the Kobe earthquake, been physically knocked about personally and seen quite harrowing scenes of destruction, human as well as property, as fires burned for days whilst he was effectively trapped. Unsurprisingly then, the 4.8 Richter scale earthquake we’d experienced in the UK on Sunday night held more than passing interest for him. In fact Michael had been awoken / disturbed by the quake in the night and, recalling the fear and horror of the previous event, had suffered a traumatic Monday.
Michael also indicated distaste for the Foucault I was reading, and the French Post-Modernists in general. I know what he means about the de-constructionist analytical froth, with little attempt to re-construct anything substantial, but I have to say I think he’s wrong about Foucault. In fact one of the main threads of my thesis is that apparently tangible facts of life are constructed from much less tangible interactions on many levels.
It was Michael who first drew my attention to Jung / Synchronicity / I Ching, the evening we met, when I was reading Melville’s Moby Dick, moments after he’d been recommending to one of his students, standing on the pavement outside the Pick, that he really should read something other than Jane Austen, like Melville for instance ! On another occasion, finding me reading Pirsig (Lila, as opposed to ZAMM), the person he was with that night had been teaching Pirsig to students at Berkley. On the face of it Michael and I now have no evident plans to be in the same place at the same time in future, but synchronicity (or some less mystical quantum non-locality) will no doubt prevail in our decision making once again. Good luck with the move Michael, including re-housing the second largest personal library in Cambridge (after Pepys apparently) – housed in Magdelen, just across the road from ….. the Pick, where else ?