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writing with gloves on

let’s have it out in the open : I’m officially diagnosed as
being depressed by both PD1 and PD2!

Coming from the
two top experience-experts on my mood swings, I’d better take this
seriously. So, do they come up with an explanation for this
‘depression’? PD1 blames it on the celebrated _mid-life
crisis_ which in her world is merely the generic phrase uttered when
a parent does something ‘odd’.

If thePartner wants to spend
some time among old friends or wants to get involved in community work,
it’s called ‘mid-life crisis’. When both of us join a
demonstration for the first time in over a decade, it’s MLC etc. etc. In
recent years I heard her say the MLC- phrase often enough referring to
her friends’ parents and thePartner but somehow I always got away,
until recently… PD2 blames it on my turning 48 last week, a fact I
cannot deny but then, what’s so special about 48? I don’t
get it.

Feeble as their explanations may be, they still may
have a point. Sure, some losses do affect me. Some recent, some
imminent, some unfortunately permanent, some hopefully temporary…
I realize this is a bit cryptic to the uninitiated, but then I’ve
given up writing about personal stuff a long time ago (to the dismay of
PD2 who would welcome more web-presence when self-googling…).

But wait… Hey, that may be part of the problem :
I’ve given up writing about so many things recently that
there’s hardly anything sufficiently interesting left to write
. In the post-Dutroux scare I
did remove all pictures and references to our daughters from my
web-pages, for you don’t want to know the weirdos that have a look
at it and you definitely do not want to think about what they might do
when they obtain my address from the university web-page…. Surely,
a valid point. So, away with all writing about personal stuff.

Then, more recently (and I hope at least some of you noticed it…)
I’ve imposed a ban on critical postings about people or events
going on in noncommutative algebra/geometry. The reason behind this
decision is personal, so if I didnt tell you in private you’ll
never find it here.

Speaking about this with Paul
at the last Oberwolfach, he had an hilarious reply. “I
wouldn’t say you were critical. I’d say you are sometimes
pretty _intense_ and I love it, as long as I’m not on the
receiving end…

But see, that’s just the
problem. Mathematicians are so vane that there is always someone who
feels to be on the receiving end! Let’s say, hypothetically
speaking, that I write a somewhat critical post about the ongoing
cluster-algebra hype, we all know some people who will not like it.
Ditto about (again hypothetically…) symplectic-reflection
algebras, ditto about etc. etc.

Compare this with the entertaining
about-life-or-death fights going on in physics-blogs. If you don’t
know what I’m talking about and want to have a good laugh, have a
go at the comments to this Not Even
Wrong Post
. Possibly, I should come to terms with the fact
that blogging is an activity which will never be tolerated by the
autism-enriched environment of mathematicians and that I should just
give it up.

Or, perhaps, I should regain my writing-freedom and blog
about whatever I feel strongly about at that particular moment in time
(and remember, I do suffer from violent mood-swings so these opinions
may change overnight…), be it critical or if you want
‘intense’, and hope that not too many will think they are on
the receiving end… I realize that I will sometimes be accused of
‘jealousy’, sometimes of being ‘frustrated’.
But, let’s face it : bottling up one’s frustrations,
that’s precisely the thing that leads to a genuine

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