Warning: This post is deliberately somewhat oblique. It might not make complete sense, especially if you are unfamiliar with the X-files.
The last 4-5 weeks have been weird. Hard-to-describe weird. But yesterday right before I went for a run, something clicked and I have a new way of thinking about what is going on: I am in an X-files episode. Perhaps more than one episode. There has been a somewhat grisly medical mystery that has been solved by science. There are aliens, of a sort, although they are leaving the scene. And there is mystery, intrigue, and shifting and uncertain alliances.
The medical mystery was debilitating and uncomfortable. The initial mystery was solved, but the solution was false. The malady returned in force, in a way that contradicted the original diagnosis. More doctors, and science soon triumphed. It was a highly toxic little bug. Well known to science---and to East Africans---but not well known to me. And extremely toxic.
Now I am in the midst of a different and trickier sort of intrigue. This much is known. My department chair, a friend and much-admired colleague, resigned Monday morning. By Tuesday he was back home in Kenya. The same morning the head of Chemistry resigned as well. What is not fully known is why they left. And will anyone else leave? I sense tension and shifting alliances. I have several informants. Something is going on, that's sure. I am, at most, a very minor player in what is unfolding. But it will be interesting.
Mulder had Scully, and Scully had Mulder. But I am alone here. So I must be both. Mulder brought intuition and instinct to the partnership. Scully, science and rationality. As often pointed out, one of the interesting things about the duo is that Scully possesses the traits that are typically thought of as masculine, whereas Mulder's traits are perhaps gendered feminine. Regardless, the two make a good combination.
So I must try to summon up the best of Mulder and Scully to continue to navigate unknown and possibly turbulent waters. I have survived the mysterious toxic insects. And I will, of course, survive whatever is to come. But a combination of intuition and rationality will likely serve me well in the months ahead.