Sunday, November 23, 2008

GEMCS: Day Three

I've compared conferences to sleep-away camp before, but this one felt more like being back in college: some of the papers were great; others I survived by doodling and passing notes with friends. All our meals were noisy, joyous affairs--full of argument and gossip and drink. And every night Ally and I stayed up late, talking into the dark from the warmth of our beds.

As in college, though, this had its downside. One morning we had to get up early for a friend's panel, and when Ally's alarm went off we'd had only a few hours of sleep and were still half drunk.

"Oh, God," I moaned, realizing that I had my own panel that day.

"Why did I set my alarm for 7.35?" she asked. "Seven-thirty-FIVE? What the hell?"

We lay there for a few minutes, thinking.

"Do I owe you money?" I asked. "I must. Goddamn hotel bars."

"You gave me loads of money." Then she laughed. "[That thing] was pretty funny."

I looked at her blankly. "What?"

She repeated herself.

"That did not happen. You're making that up."

"We need coffee."

"Shit. Shitshitshitshitshit."

"Starbucks. Across the street."

"Is my brain broken?"

* * * * * * * * * * *

It was not, in fact, broken, and the day turned out to be lovely--because, just as if we were still 22, we rallied with astonishing speed, attended every session, and went out again that night.

I'm grateful that I'm not 22 and this isn't habitual. Still, I have renewed respect for my students.

7 comments:

phd me said...

Oh, too too funny. That was my conference experience to a T this week. Late nights, admirable stamina, no sleep, much liquor plus all the professional requirements - it was a blast.

scr said...

I think you're younger than my friends and I. At the Vegas conference, after drinking till 4, I was the only one who made it to my morning sessions, but then I was back in bed by 2pm. 2pm, coincidentally, is when one of my drinking buddies made it to his FIRST session. The other guys didn't make it anywhere at all.

Jack said...

Ha. I had a similar experience which also similarly prompted a renewed respect for my students, except I was at um, a-hem, a teaching conference. Nothing like trying to pay attention, stay awake, and not be sick in an 8:15 workshop about getting students focused and excited about learning.

e. fiction said...

You and Ally were my personal lords and saviors that morning. Next time I run into you, I owe you a drink or five.

Flavia said...

Jesus will drink (if not eat) that.

jo(e) said...

This is what I love about conferences.

Except then I come home and need to sleep for a week ....

Renaissance Girl said...

I'm a loser for not attending. I usually alternate years for RSA and GEMCS, for reasons I will probably blog about sometime. But I'm feeling sorrier and sorrier I missed the fun in Philly.