This morning at our Waldorf pre-pre-school the mommies sat around the picnic table chatting away while the children played in yard. One of the moms had a lovely home-knit hat. I mentioned I had several winter hats because while at college, I kept misplacing them and buying new ones, so by the end of my four years I had nearly half a dozen hats (scarves and gloves).
The teacher working with us on our sewing project asked, in polite conversation, where I’d gone to college and what I’d studied. I told her I was a German Studies Major with a History minor. She was quite impressed and mentioned I could probably read Rudolf Steiner’s work in it’s original German.
I said it was quite possible, after all, Steiner’s work was nonfiction, which I find much easier to read in German than nonfiction. This led to a conversation about Hesse’s Siddhartha which I had to read in the original German for my German Lit class, and Steppenwolf, which I read in english for 1920s German/Russian Lit.
I’d had a hard time with Siddhartha in English as well, but I’d read it on my own in the sixth grade, and I hadn’t enjoyed it much then either, and I found it to be quite challenging in it’s original language. I’m not a huge fan of Hesse in any language. The teacher was fairly sure that the local Waldorf school taught Siddhartha to the older students. She had never read anything by Hesse, and was quite impressed.
I think it was at that point the teacher said: “You’re an intellectual aren’t you?” Seeing the confused look on my face, she said, “It is not a bad thing.”
I’m not sure I would classify myself as an intellectual. I try to read a fair bit on a decent range of topics, I skim the International Herald Tribune (NYTimes International), the Houston Chronicle, Drudge Report and Daily Mail. I flip through Gavin’s stack of old Economists, and delight in reading Cook’s Illustrated. I also read a wide range of blogs.
I’m not sure it is intellectualism as much as it is self-preservation. I read, I cook and bake, I garden, I craft, I blog, I create. I would be doing myself a disservice not to. I enjoy discussing topics beyond my two-year-old’s latest accomplishment, new quirk, or cute trick. If all I thought about all day long was housework, the toddler and “mommy-issues” I think I would go totally insane.