We came to the Dead Sea as an afterthought, five of us wedged into one taxi on our way to the airport. So far we had spent our Jordanian daylight inside a conference room, listening to other Fulbright scholars present research about the Middle East and North Africa, and our evenings in large group dinners comparing notes. Within hours, my new friends would scatter back to Morocco, Oman, and Israel, and I would return to my temporary home in the city of Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates. The conference had been delicious and heady claustrophobia, like interval training for academics. We acquired and processed new information, alternating between externalized and internalized thought, acquisition and analysis, as if variety could substitute for rest. What I’m saying is that we were a certain kind of tired. When we unhooked ourselves from the backseat of the taxi, language was beginning to hurt.