I am not actually attending the conference, but I did wind up in Chicago post-holidays, so I went to the Hyatt for the blogger meet-up. The first person I saw was a former professor of mine, eating an orange in the lobby before rushing off to a panel—at nearly nine at night! What the hell? Soon the MLA is going to be running 24-hour sessions, either preparing its members for jobs in the service economy, or perhaps as a concession to those who already are in it; and the conversations will go like this:
MeLiA: I got the worst time slot, 5:00 a.m., I’d never in my life been up at that hour before, and the only audience members were horribly hearty morning people on their way to the gym or, worse, on the way back from it.
LiAM: Mine was worse, 3:00 a.m., and the only people there had been out clubbing; they were ALL drunk and half of them heckled with no inhibition whatever and the other half fell asleep and snored.
ALMa: Even noon isn’t what it used to be, because most people there are either exhausted from getting up at 4:30 to go to the gym or else they just woke up, and they’re all cranky and low on blood sugar, it’s just like teaching during lunch hour.
It was fun meeting people. No one looks anything like how I imagined them from blogs (Sisyphus is not actually a talking black cat), except for being much younger than I am. But a couple of people were kind enough to say that since so many bloggers are grad students and junior faculty, it’s good to get some balance from
old bags like me the tenured. Good luck to everyone with interviews and papers and networking!