Wednesday, November 09, 2005

How YOU and your hair doin'?

I attended my first academic conference this week. I got a nametag and everything, and I don’t know about you, but nothing says “I’m A Intellectual” like your own name suspended from your neck with a plastic bungee cord.

I settled in with a happy sigh. No students to get in the way of teaching! No TV! No politicking! No Geraldo! Just scholarship! Sentence syntax, ho!

VERY FIRST PRESENTER, VERY FIRST SESSION: As we all know, George W. Bush is a horrid monkey-faced Nazi who eats newborn manatees.

OTHER ATTENDEES: Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

THE DOOR: (clicks softly shut behind MB)

So I went to another room, where academic activity of some sort indeed seemed to be taking place, and I will let you know what it was as soon as I finish the four PhD’s required to understand just what-all was said in there. Something about “the…and…therefore.” Whatever it was caused much pique to a gentleman sitting behind me, who shot a hand in the air. A thesaurus fell out of his mouth as he began shrieking about Doestoevsky, and what must he think of all this, and the word “paradoxically” was used, the only thing that stopped him was the blessed ringing of his cell phone, and let me just say that any academic point you might wish to make will be severely undercut when “Axel F” begins to issue from your pants.

I also presented. The seven people in the room, only three of whom were also not presenting, seemed appreciative, particularly when I shut up.

Now this was a collection of English divas, which meant that not one single thing started on time, except for the cocktail party, which began at six AM. They gave us drink tickets—I mean, literal drink tickets, like those tear-off things clearly left over from the Split the Pot at the church festival St. Simon’s parking lot, and we each got two, and you have not lived until you have seen a roomful of people with advanced degrees trying to form a line with alcohol at the end of it.

This all took place in a convention ballroom roughly the size of Connecticut, and I cannot fathom how there was square footage enough for all the egos.

Also, I was hit on by a woman. This was heartily offensive, not because I have a problem with gay people–the lass was simply showing good taste, after all—but because she hit on me while I was attempting to read. I was sitting near the hotel bar, immersed in high literature, and we had the following conversation:

WOMAN: Nervous about something?

ME: Uh… please?

WOMAN: I’ve been standing here watching you tap your foot while you’re reading. Are you nervous?

ME: Um.

WOMAN: Are you with the teachers?

(It’s the new pickup line! “I’m with the band” is out! “I’m with the teachers” is in! Chicks dig red pens!)

ME: Yes.

WOMAN: OHHHHHHHHH! That is so cool!

ME: ...Yeah.

WOMAN: Well, I’ll just let you get back to your book.

ME: Okay.

(fourteen blessedly uninterrupted seconds of lightsaber battles, which are slightly more compelling on film than in the printed word)

WOMAN: I bet you almost never wear your hair like that. I can tell.

ME: …?

WOMAN: Why don’t you let me buy you a drink?

ME: No, thank you.

WOMAN: Come on! We'll get Jager Bombs!

ME: That’s... very nice of you, but no thanks.

WOMAN: You’ve been working hard all day! Let’s get you out of those pantyhose!

ME: Oh look, here comes a total and complete stranger! I need to go walk next to him now. Bye!

Yes indeedy, there was a whole lotta academicing goin’ on.

buy me a shot at:

1 comment:

Simon said...
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