For this week’s Women Wednesday I met with Katie. She hails from Philadelphia and is here on a Fulbright grant to study film and teach English. She’s been the life line in our women’s pub quiz team because she will always know that random fact and she has never gotten a film question wrong. We met a couple times during the week because the rain kept foiling my plans for photos, but in the end I think Katie really expressed that feeling many of us have towards Vienna. The sort of cynical love for this city. After our discussion I kept playing Billy Joel’s song titled Vienna on repeat and enjoyed the rainy day.
I wanted to major in film. They didn’t have a major for film at Agnes Scott though, they only had a minor. So I have a major in philosophy and a minor in film and creative studies. I tried to create my own major, but it didn’t work. I chose philosophy basically because it seemed hard. That was my reason, which is a terrible reason. But that’s why I chose philosophy.
I took a philosophy class my first semester and I hated it. I absolutely hated it. It was one of the only B’s I ever got in college. But at the end of the semester it was the only class I felt like I had achieved something in, like I had learned something. Philosophy’s a really difficult thing to do. Logic usually gets everybody. They’re not kind. They use the Socratic method to basically destroy you. Now I appreciate what philosophy did for me. I learned a lot about decision making and in terms of speaking, I was pretty quiet when I went to college and that’s something you can’t do. You can’t be quiet. You have to be able to argue your point.
Sometimes the mood of Vienna was a big challenge, especially in the winter time. But I think that’s also why I was attracted to it. It’s like that broody guy that you are supposed to like. You think “oh he’s so broody, standing in the corner, looking really interesting”, but when you are actually talking to him he will depress you. That’s what Vienna is like for me. Sometimes I think “Oh stop being so serious”. And as soon as I would leave Vienna I would be fine. I’m just living my life, but in Vienna everything seems so serious. It’s like a five alarm fire. I’m compelled to drink a black coffee and smoke in a café. I was talking to someone in the very beginning about how Vienna is a very performative city. It’s like New York. When you are in New York you are performing the idea of how it is to be in New York. And in Vienna is like that as well. You are constantly performing being Viennese. You are constantly trying to live up to that. I like that sometimes. Other times it’s very constricting. I don’t want to contemplate my life and eat cake. I’m done with the cake.
I mentioned Hawelka earlier because that’s where I was like, I love Vienna. I lived in the 1st district for a while and I would go there all the time. The one guy always kisses my hand when I leave and tells me how he is glad to see me again. That will stick with me. Because I feel like a part, a little bit, of that broody culture. Like sitting in the corner with my book and getting to know the waiters.
I’m going to graduate school. I almost stayed in Vienna, but I’m going to California actually, to University of Southern California. I will be studying film. But if I hadn’t come to Vienna I would have continued with philosophy. So it did divert me. I think it gave me time to think about what I really wanted. I think I will come back. I don’t think I’m done with Vienna. As I am facing the end of it, I’m like, you know, it doesn’t feel quite like the end. It will be waiting for me.