So I'm going to MLA again this year, mainly because George Washington Boyfriend is on the market, but also because it's not in a totally inconvenient location relative to the rest of my winter break plans, and because I do enjoy many of the panels, catching up with friends and professional acquaintances, &c.
But I haven't registered yet. What with that whole four-months-without-a-salary, moving-to-a-new-location-and-setting-up-house thing, I'm in pretty tight financial straits, and I just couldn't afford to pay the $125 early registration fee last month; I figured it would be easier to pay the full $150 fee later this month. But now, looking ahead to my projected expenses, I'm not even so sure about that.
I'm thinking about not registering at all.
Practically, I don't think that this would pose too much of a problem. GWB and I already have a hotel room, and in my past experience I don't recall nametages being regularly checked by MLA staff; I think they're really only strict at the book exhibit and at the big, "future-of-the-humanities"-type panels. The panels I'm interested in will likely draw between 5-40 people, and I'm pretty sure that security at the INRU reception isn't too tight, since I know people from other programs who have crashed it in past years (full, open bar, folks--'swhat I'm talking about!).
But perhaps I'm misremembering how strict nametag enforcement is, and there are a couple of panels that I'd be really disappointed if I got shut out of. And if part of the reason for going is to schmooze, maybe it's better to have the damn tag already. And there is, of course, the ethical question: could I be a good professional citizen and still be a conference freeloader?