Artemis sat in her usual cafe on Washington Square, scowling at her lap top, sipping her first skinny latte of the day.
Life at San Paradiso University was not quite as glorious as she had hoped.
Despite excellent feedback on her dissertation: 'I shop therefore I am: an ethnography of a department store in central San Paradiso' with particularly good attention paid amongst her peers to Artemis' reflexive stance when it came to the Laura Mercier lipstick counter, her career was not going as well as she hoped.
Stuck in an Education department, she had managed to get a grant on whether parents' on-line shopping habits correlated with kindergarteners' reading scores, with a spatial-literacy dimension, but her second proposal, a geo-ethnography of a primary school, tracking A list San Paradiso mothers' shopping habits and relating these to their children's interaction with artifacts, had not been accepted.
'Face it honey' said her dean. 'You need gritty realism, something more close to reality'.
She had tried getting access to the public high schools in New Orleans, to do a time and motion study of jazz and school attendance, but Hurricane Katrina had intervened.
What Artemis needed, she realised, was to find a site with both a department store AND a mall, lots of hills, places she could jog, cafes with wireless, a carb free diet on tap and gritty realism ALL in one place.
Where could this be?
Wearily she scrolled down her emails, wishing she was more like Paul Willis, a hero of hers since she read 'Learning to Labour' at Graduate school.
She wanted to be there, amongst the pits, the class ridden world of the North of England.
Also, a place that offered free healthcare and did not have continually poor homeless people on every street corner would be nice.
Suddenly a message flashed out at her.
HAVE YOU THOUGHT OF EXCHANGING?
Bursary offered for one year to Ruffield University education department.
Must be prepared to do ethnography and be interested in material artifacts.
Corresponding person must then take your job as arranged.
Travel accommdation provided.
Apply to the Hilary Clinton travel fund.
Artemis shut up her lap top.
She must do something.
it was raining again, and the view from the cafe (pictured here for realism)
was depressing her.
She would apply.
TO BE CONTINUED.