After a day of meetings, sessions, reunions with colleagues, papers, and (I must admit) a 90-minute nap in the early afternoon, I had the singular pleasure of visiting the Chicago home of my dear old friend and A.V. Club colleague Scott for drinks, dinner, and baby playtime tonight.
I've known Scott since the early nineties, when we were both at the University of Georgia. There's no one who's stood by me so consistently through good times and bad. He was there for me when I married Noel in 1996; I was there for him when he married Allison in 2004.
Now he has the most beautiful nine-month-old girl, Isabel. Her big eyes and curious, fearless personality captivated me. Keith and Stevie were there, and we ate fajitas, drank margaritas, and talked politics and family vacations for hours. (Keith's story about his family trip to Terre Haute had me gasping for air.)
I'm scheduled to the hilt at this meeting -- witness the second 7 am breakfast meeting in a row tomorrow. It's a very different experience than the freedom of my first decade or so of annual meetings, when I would go to whatever sessions I chose, pop into the receptions for my alma mater and publishing house and theological institute on various evenings, and set my own schedule otherwise. When more people know you, when you are in positions of responsibility, you are obligated to many groups, and free time is minimal.
But thank goodness there are non-academic friends to whom I am also obligated, who whisk me away from the professors and plans and papers for an evening of pure friendship. I'm invigorated and comforted by their hospitality. Scott and Alli, Keith and Stevie -- my thanks.