Thursday, April 17, 2008

Conference Hate & Conference Love

Now I know putting things into this binary of "hate" vs. "love" is much too simplistic, but I literally have 10 minutes before my paid internet use expires, and plus, it's much more PROVOCATIVE to say love and hate, don't you think? Plus, I don't know which is going to turn out to be greater--love or hate--so here goes:


*People who read their paper off their laptops--C'mon! Get it together! Print it out!

*People who grossly underestimate their timing and either run over their time allotment, thus inconveniencing their fellow panelists or cutting on the fly, thus making it hard to ultimately follow their argument.

*Fancy-schmancy hotels that, even at the conference rate, makes it feel like you should be getting a nightly massage and a fruit basket, but the same fancy-schmancy hotel does NOT have free wifi and makes you pay $9.95/24hours, which you do because the hotel website said there was wifi in the hotel and didn't specify that you had to pay so you left off emailing key people until you got to the conference and then realized that you really just had to pay the money for access. Curse you Fancy-Schmancy international hotel chain!

*People who sit next to you when you are absorbed in what YOU think is an interesting talk yet your rude seat mate spends the entire time CHECKING EMAIL ON HER iPHONE!

*No cheap food eating options/interesting sight seeing, thus requiring one to take a cab into the downtown areas.


*Seeing friends from around the country that I only see once a year!

*Blowing off a panel and grabbing a drink with above friends and catching up on their lives.

*Eating really yummy ethnic food (like Latin-Caribbean fusion and sushi) that I normally don't get in my small Southern college town (yay for raw fish!)

*The book exhibit because I'm a nerd and love books and love to see who is publishing the latest interesting monograph that will cause me night sweats thinking, "Damn, why can't I be that smart!" but also grateful that said academic IS that smart because his/her work helps to push my own thinking, especially about race.

*Being around a whole group of people who KNOW what Executive Order 9066, I Was Born with Two Tongues, and Angel Island mean. Ahhh...the shorthand of being with likeminded folk.

*Getting to talk Asian American lit crit with folks--remember: this is an academic conference; we are all nerds; this is part of what we do for a living. But also remember the FIRST thing I listed about friends and grabbing a drink!

*And last but not least, not being the only one. I am awash in a sea of dark haired folk, most of whom are wearing black, many of whom are wearing glasses, all of them interested in all things Asian American and I'm guessing almost all of whom are working on social justice issues around ending racism.

I'll be back on Monday when I finally have free wifi in the comforts of my own home.


Susan said...

It's amazing -- the pricey hotels charge for wifi, while the cheap ones (i.e. Comfort Inn) give it free! Grrr.

s-fizzle said...

i will never know what it is like to be at a conference. well maybe one day?

Maybe we can come visit you sometime this year? Whenever you are free? :)