Friday, October 31, 2008

Snapshots from Chicago

  • It was a beautiful day in the Second City, and I spent it inside a windowless board room voting on things. Thank goodness for lunch and a stroll in Grant Park, where the Obama campaign has taken over a huge chunk of land to set up their election night celebration. Gazing out over the city tonight from the balcony of the organization's penthouse suite, full of the conviction of shared ideals, was almost overwhelmingly emotional.
  • One of the strangest experiences of a meeting like this is having your name recognized by someone you don't know. The meeting has barely begun, but in the elevator, a Virginia graduate student introduced himself by saying that my name was still bandied about in the department. (I hope the stories are positive.) At the book exhibit, a person whose name I knew because he's a committee chair knew my name from reading my work.
  • While browsing the book exhibit, a voice at my elbow said, "Nice Clapotis." Yes, there was a knitter making herself known, someone who recognized the famous pattern and correctly pronounced the secret password. Turns out she's a grad student in North Carolina who's known on Ravelry by the name Lazuli. Wearing a popular handknit is like flashing a gang sign-- instant bonding.
  • Sure, Chicago is beautiful (67 degree weather and brilliant fall sunshine today). Sure, my colleagues are marvelous and I care for them and our common enterprise deeply. But is this a pleasure cruise? As I told my students, I'll be awakening before dawn tomorrow for an ungodly 7 am breakfast meeting. Not my idea of a vacation, no matter how wonderful the company or the cause.

No comments: