February 27, 2007

Flying south

It's not time for spring break yet, but I am taking mine a bit early. My suitcase is packed. I'm off to a conference, held this year in City Burned to the Ground During the Civil War. In class, I gave my students a project to work on while I was gone and told them I was heading to Warm Southern City.

Of course, they all had to chime in with interesting facts about City at the Beginning of the Alphabet. One of my landscape architects told me that the city is famous for being an urban heat island that generates a permanent low pressure system, sort of like a torture chamber for someone who gets migraines. Another student claims there is some kind of whole museum dedicated to Famous Soft Drink filled with caffeine and sugar. A biology student told me cheerfully that the newest tourist trap in the city is a huge building where intelligent mammals who have both language and sonar are trapped in tanks of water and forced to perform tricks for a human audience.

I think they are just jealous that I am going someplace warmer, leaving behind the snowbanks and icy roads and winds that blow snow into every crevice of clothing.

I miss my family when I travel and I hate luxury hotels with windows that don't open, but I like everything else about attending a conference. The sessions leave me stimulated by new ideas and perspectives. Long discussions over dinner with colleagues and friends sometimes end up stretching far into the night. I'll have a chance to meet some writers whose work I've long admired; I'll be saturated with poetry by the end of each night. Most importantly, four or five days at a conference gives me time to evaluate what I want to do next with my career and where I want to spend my energy. I will come home with lists of books that I must read, email addresses of colleagues who have become friends, and a journal full of ideas.

26 comments:

RageyOne said...

Safe travels to you!

By the way, I always like the way you name the cities you are traveling to or the city of a someone you know. Very clever.

Nels said...

I know so many people who go to that conference. I keep thinking I should try it sometime.

merseydotes said...

Would not recommend seeing the soft drink museum. The only good part is the giant soda fountain at the end where you can try drinks that Soft Drink Company makes all over the world.

Lots of good dining and fun nightlife in Buckhead. Have a safe trip!

Sophie said...

Oh! So that's why I get so many migraines! Love the sideways descriptions of my city.

Yankee, Transferred said...

Yes, have a safe and wonderful trip. I'd skip the Aquarium-too crowded and I don't feel good about the animals.

YourFireAnt said...

Well, good luck with whatever you plan to do while there.

;-)

FA

Linda (FM) said...

Have a fabulous trip. I'll look forward to the nude blogger photo upon your return. I mean, it is a tradition, right?

Paul said...

And my son and his family live in a city just north of the One You're Going To. If you see them, wave.

By the way, it's my great pride and joy that I have refused to drink one of those Famous Soft Drinks since 1997. Nor any of the Famous Soft Drink Company's other products. (I sure do miss the Tasty Orange Juice, though.)

Aliki2006 said...

Have a good trip!

cloudscome said...

That sounds lovely! Have a wonderful time.

landis said...

Have a great trip!

Sarah Sometimes said...

Bon voyage! I know you'll have fun. And since I am going to City That Sounds Like a Lost Underwater Metropolis at the end of March, you can let me know about all the good places to eat and hang out. Oh, and here's a tidbit on the evils of zoos, from the novel I am currently teaching, an 18th-century women's utopia. (This is a quotation from one of the female proprieters of the estate, on being questioned whether a certain enclosure houses what we would call a zoo): "When a man forces the furious steed to endure the bit, or breaks oxen to the yoke, the great benefits he receives from, and communicates to the animals, excuses the forcible methods by which it is accomplished. But to see a man, from a vain desire to have in his possession the native of another climate and another country, reduce a fine and noble creature to misery, and confine him within narrow inclosures whose happiness consisted in unbounded liberty, shocks my nature. . . . Every thing to me looses its charm when it is put out of that station wherein nature, or to speak more properly, the all-wise Creator has placed it. I imagine man has the right to use the animal race for his own preservation, perhaps for his convenience, but certainly not to treat them with wanton cruelty, and as it is not in his power to give them any thing so valuable as their liberty, it is, in my opinion, criminal to enslave them, in order to procure ourselves a vain amusement, if we have so little feeling as to find any while others suffer." Pretty good, huh?

Sarah Sometimes said...

P.S. No more February!!! Hurray!!!

Chip said...

have a great time! I'm at a conference in a different, colder and windier city myself this week...

sheepish said...

OMG!! You've GOT to go see the baby panda!!!!
*hyperventilating with jealousy*

Jennifer said...

(delurk) It makes me sort of happy to know you'll be close by; I've been reading your blog for so long, I feel like a friend is coming to visit. Even though... it's a friend who has no idea who I am and so will not be stopping by for a beverage and a chat. Oh well.
I've only been here in the City that is the Same Age as Scarlett O'Hara since August, but it's not so bad. Except, of course, the traffic. The weather will be nice for you. You might enjoy the Martin Luther King tour/ museum. It's poetic in its way. You seem to have fun where ever you go, so I'll just look forward to hearing about it. (relurk)

BeachMama said...

Oooh, have lots of fun. Enjoy the warmth and the fact that today is the last day of February. Funny how the shortest month of the year always seems like the longest.

Kyla said...

Have a wonderful time, jo(e)!

Rana said...

Have fun! :)

(Oh, too cool. The verification word is alxiu - which could be pronounced "I'll see you." Later, anyway...)

timna said...

have fun and, to echo, no more February (ok, I still have a half an hour, but you're done).

Patti said...

I hope you have fun! With all that green, it will seem like a different world. Yay! Today is 3/1! Late winter with warm days and cold nights...the sap is running...and the snow will probably be waiting for you when you get back.

KathyR said...

I will be happy to take your place in any luxury hotel, regardless of the condition of the windows.

It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

undine said...

I second merseydotes's advice on the Famous Soft Drink Museum. It's mostly posters and a fake production line, although the soft drinks from all over the world that you get at the end are interesting.

Lilian said...

Most Important Question:
Doesn't our friend with wavy hair and cool tattoo live there? Are you going to meet him or what? You just have to!!!

jo(e) said...

Lilian: I had plans to have lunch with Curly-Haired Blogger, but he changed his mind and cancelled.

Lilian said...

Oh, I'm so sad! Something must be up for Curly-Haired-Blogger to cancel a lunch with you, since he's said before that you're his closest blogging friend.

I guess it's not that easy to bring together the virtual and the real world :)

For me the transition is seamless in most cases. When I met Cloudscome (to mention a blogger that I think you know), it was as if we already knew each other, which we did, of course.

You guys have met before, haven't you, though? Well, I, for one, am eagerly looking forward to meeting you someday! :)