No nightmares, really, but . . . well, there was the time I was running a temperature of 104, and in the wee hours of the night, just before the fever broke, I had a whole delirious vision of life without academia, sitting at a desk nine to five, getting three weeks of vacation a year, having a boss who yelled at me whenever I fell behind (which was always), and the strangest thing about the vision was that it was all in this purplish tint, like a bruise. By the time the fever broke I had resigned myself to it, my father's life, and was looking forward to retirement in some Florida resort, living alongside a golf course, improving my game, improving my strokes . . .

So life outside academia is a nightmare for you, is that right?

Basically. Although at one point I seriously contemplated getting out, becoming a freelance writer and translator.

Replicating an academic environment, in other words, reading and writing, without the institutional constraints and job security of academia.

Right. Which was why I didn't quit. I like the job security well enough to put up with the institutional constraints.

You're hooked.

I'm an addict. What can I say?

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