November 05, 2007
I had intended to go to every session of the academic conference, even though the panels were held in hotel rooms without windows or natural light. The sessions went from 8 a.m. until about 10 p.m. at night, and the conference program included things to do every moment of the day, even going so far as to instruct us to be awake at 2 a.m. to change our clocks. I had intended to follow that rigorous schedule for three days. I had intended to spend every break in the lobby of the hotel, mingling with suit-wearing coffee-drinking academic folks. I had even brought a blazer.
I was going to behave this time like a serious academic.
But on Friday morning, a station wagon pulled up in front of the hotel. I had stepped outside for just a moment, just to long enough to notice that the sun was shining and the sky was the kind of deep blue that happens only in the fall. I fully intended to go right back to yet another session on the Critique of the Ambiguity of the Convergence of Cybernetics as Cultural Symbols and the Subversion of Self in the Spatial Reframing of the Embodied Notion of the Pathological Immanence or Operative Aftereffects of the Ways in Which Mice Code Reality.
But I was no match for the occupants of the station wagon, a tiny woman and her two huge furry attack dogs, who smothered me with hugs and forced me to spend the afternoon playing along the shore in the bright sun and salty air.
I've long wanted to meet Songbird; it seems like we've been blogging friends forever. She's just what I imagined; warm, soft-spoken, quick to laugh, full of interesting stories and compassionate responses. We had a most wonderful afternoon, beginning with lunch in a cute cafe that served vegetarian sandwiches. She gave me a tour of City by the Sea, telling me all kinds of historical tidbits and anecdotes about the landmarks we were passing. We walked along a promenade and played with the dogs on a beach that smelled wonderfully of seaweed and salt water.
And of course, we talked pretty much non-stop, chatting happily about our kids, our husbands, our blogs, and all of the kinds of things old friends discuss. Songbird kept patting me, as if to see if I was real, which is exactly what I do when I meet a blogger. We'd hug each other and say ridiculous things like, "Oh, your hair smells nice." There's just something about finally meeting a friend in person! I was quite jealous of how thick and curly her hair was; I think if she grew it long, she would look very much like my Shaggy Hair Boy.
The only real surprise about the meetup were the two dogs. I'd seen photos of them, and I thought I knew what they looked like. But they were both way bigger than I thought. They are seriously huge dogs and just unbelievably furry and friendly.
The time went by quickly. I kept saying things like, "I really should get back to the conf— oh, stop here! Let's take photos! Can you take me to a lighthouse?"
By the time we drove back to my hotel, the two big furry dogs were flopped down in the back of the vehicle, exhausted from running about in the sunshine and salty air. I myself felt saturated with sunshine and talk. The November wind on the shore had swept the stale hotel air out of my brain. As Songbird and I hugged goodbye, we were both already planning what kinds of things we might do the next time we get together.
Posted by jo(e)