Friday, December 29, 2006

Survived the first day at the MLA

But I'm taking today off. I got home around 1:00 a.m. But let's start at the beginning. I arrived and got registered in time to attend a 10:15 session, "Rhetoric, Composition, Writing: Affinities, Tragectories, Discontinuities" with Cheryl Glenn and Kathleen Yancey. Doug Hesse was supposed to be there as well, but instead Kathy read his paper. In Doug's paper, he started with a story about receiving an email from his daughter's Alma Mater. As Kathy read the email, I recognized it. It was the email that sent people to this, a flash presentation created by one of my students during the summer program I direct. I consider myself semi-quoted.

During that session my phone rang. (Actually, my phone wasn't the only phone to ring.) I turned it off and then at the end of the session, I checked my messages. It was from Lilian. After an unsuccessful attempt to call back, we finally connected and grabbed a bite to eat at Reading Terminal Market. Lilian ran off to a session. I was wandering the halls, trying to figure out what I was going to do next. On the bridge between the hotel and the convention center, I spotted a friend from grad school. We stopped and chatted for a while. We caught up on where everyone had ended up. Turns out he's been living not that far away from me. But he's looking to move on (as many people I ran into were. More on that later.)

After leaving my friend, I decided to wander the exhibits. I stopped by the Inside Higher Ed booth and said hi to Scott and Doug. I picked up a few free books. Yay! I had to meet someone at 2:30, so decided not to attend a 1:15 session (this is a trend I continued). I found a place to sit down. Somewhere during that time or maybe before that, I got email from Collin, inviting me to meet him and his gang at the cocktail thing at 5:15 and then perhaps join them for dinner afterwards. I had tentatively had plans with a friend who lives in the city, but she had not gotten in touch with me, so I decided to take Collin up on his invite.

After my 2:30 meeting, it was about 3:15. I scoured the program and decided there was nothing I wanted to attend. (Told you it was a trend.) So I wandered to the email room, checked my email, looked up some phone numbers and then found a place to sit. I swear I walked 10 miles, so sitting was utterly important. I called another grad school friend at her hotel, thinking she wouldn't be there and I'd just leave a message. She was there. Unfortunately, she was in the middle of an interview. Boy, did I feel dumb.

After sitting for a while, I decided it wasn't too early for a drink, so I wandered down to the lobby bar. There were no seats to be had and really I was more interested in sitting than drinking, so I found a spot at the other bar, which wasn't open yet. Thirty minutes later, it opened and since I was sitting there anyway I decided to have a drink. By the time I finished, it was time for the cocktail party. Very conveniently, I had left my coat on a coat rack right outside the room where the cocktail party was being held. Drinking ensued again as did chatting with some very nice people and meeting up with Collin and crew.

Eventually, we headed off to dinner at BookBinders, which was totally awesome. Really, there's no other word for it. Our waiter will tell you so. But it was really good. And, then we split into 3 cabs with Collin and I headed off to the blogger meetup, written about here and here. Collin and I were late and apparently we missed Dr. B. Oh well. I'm thinking I have plans to attend the 8:30 session tomorrow. We'll see. It's sooo early. I'm also thinking I'm going to need a nap later. When I left the blogger meetup to catch a train, I was thinking there'd be one around 11:30, but I hadn't checked the schedule and there wasn't a train until 12:10. I probably should have gone back and chatted a little more, but I didn't. I listened to a guy talk on his cell phone to his girlfriend about how he needs to get his own life together before their relationship goes any further. It was actually kind of interesting.

So, it turned out not to be so bad. I feel slightly guilty for not attending anything, especially since I've seen some blogger writeups of sessions that looked interesting. It's such a huge program. I think I'm over my fear of the MLA. Not sure if I'll ever go again, but if I do, I will no longer fear it.