In January I mentioned some of the ways that my conference-going (or at least my MLA-going) experiences have changed over the years, but never have I had the particular experience that I'll be having this time around at SAA.
For reasons that remain obscure to me, SAA is being held in my own personal hometown. Not the city that I tell people back east I'm from, but the actual place I'm from--a sizable city in its own right, and not without its quirks or charms, but whose downtown is dominated by upscale malls and Lexus and BMW dealerships. It's totally not cool (and neither is it a great site for a conference), and with T-minus 18 hours I'm already over all the whining I expect to hear from conference-goers disappointed not to find themselves in the hipsterish enclave they thought they were headed for.
On the other hand, I'm staying with my folks, in the house I grew up in, and they've lent me their car (which they filled with gas before I got here!). I have personal knowledge of the cool places to go and a means of getting there. But I've never commuted to a conference before, and I have no idea how comfortable the shift between my familial self and my professional one will be. My childhood home is only eight miles from this year's white-hot center of Shakespeariana, but it feels much farther.