Tuesday, December 29, 2009

MLA: Day One

I eased slowly into the MLA experience yesterday. I got up at 11, after 9 hours of sleep (in my defense, I was still on west coast time, and had gotten up hideously early the previous day). Then I went to the hotel gym. Then I took a long shower and went to the book exhibits. There were no panels that I needed to attend, although some friends in different subfields were giving papers that I'd have liked to have attended, if only as a gesture of vague, intellectual support. . . but I didn't. I went back to my hotel room and tried to mock up a short book proposal, of my monograph, to give to the editor of my edition, when I meet with her today.

So apart from the hour that I spent at the book exhibit, I didn't go out in public until 5 p.m., to attend the reception hosted by my graduate department and then the reception and dinner hosted by the Milton Society. And then I repaired back to the new Marriott bar (again: good job on the bar, guys!) to meet up with friends.

The INRU reception was a depressing affair. Some years it gets housed in vaster and more poorly-lit spaces than others, but at least one can count on a full, open bar and an enormous spread of food. Not this year! We got tickets for just one free drink, and there were plates of nice-ish bread, three or four cheeses and a few vegetables. What good is my INRU Ph.D., if not to guarantee me a lavish almost-meal and free booze once a year? I guess this recession thing is for real! Not as many of my friends or cohort-mates attended as in years past, either, though I did get to see one good friend and some faculty I like, and found a nice colleague to hitch a ride over to the Milton dinner with.

Milton dinner highlight: meeting a young post-doc who, after five minutes of chit-chat, said, "So I'm familiar with your work on X, Flavia . . . but what are you working on these days?" (I replied with an only slightly more suave version of, "Hey! Someone I don't know reads what I write? Dude, I love you!") Lowlight: falling asleep continually during the 30-minute keynote address. No, wait: the real lowlight was when my cell phone rang between the keynote and the response, waking me up, and causing me to fumble moronically for the off switch. What idiot MLA buddy calls rather than texts? My idiot MLA buddy, apparently--but one with the good sense to skip that particular dinner. I'll take a page from his book next year.

And so to the bar, and so to bed.

1 comment:

Earnest English said...

Thank you thank you thank you for blogging MLA! The blogosphere is as quiet and serene as the snowy vista out my window. I need talk! I need action and invigoration and the idea that there's a social and intellectual world out there somewhere beyond my winter wonderland of parenting.

Thanks again. Keep it up!