Today's project was getting through an article. Thank the gods it was more relevant (although only slightly more so) than the book I referred to in yesterday's post. I didn't manage to get the notes taken, but the article is read and done.
So why burn a whole day on a single thirty-page article? Two reasons:
First, today was a rough day, physically. I've got a persistent (but hopefully not permanent) condition known as frozen shoulder that causes very limited mobility, and sometimes, like today, enough pain to leave me exhausted. So I didn't even start working today until 4 p.m.
Second, the article isn't in English. This is one of the challenges of being a medievalist: we are expected to read Latin, German, and French, plus whatever other languages our particular research area might require. This article was in one of those other languages.
I have two contradictory feelings about the work I do in other languages. On the one hand, I'm proud of this ability of mine. Most people in my country speak only English. The fact that I can get along with relative fluency in three additional languages, plus read two others, is one of those few parts of my skill set that non-academics can appreciate. It's also something that I can use in my non-academic life, now and then.
On the other hand, there is a part of me that is a bit puzzled when people are impressed by this, if it comes up in conversation. That part of me says, "This is part of my job, that's all." Plenty of jobs have semi-arcane skills that I will never master, nor ever need to, but that I admire in others. I can't do statistics, fix a leaky pipe, interpret blood pressure readings, or make an omelette that doesn't turn out as a scramble -- all things that other people do as a part of their jobs on a daily basis, and which I'm grateful that they will sometimes do for me.