Monday, May 02, 2005

Erica Fall Down, Go Boom

Subtitle: Selected Adventures From My Latest Conference Experience

I'm back home. Everything went fairly well and sales were decent. C and I had us some fun on our off hours and managed to both stay alive and reassure many a troubled mom that she could, indeed, educate her children in the sciences from home.

But then there are the misadventures. It all begins with my arrival at the rental car lot on Thursday afternoon. My flights were on time, my bags arrived without a problem, and I was ready to get on the road and conquer all the set-up. There were some stone steps on the way up to the business office, and as I began climbing them, I biffed it. HARD. Now for those of you who did not spend your entire collegiate career hearing, being repulsed by, and then later loving the term "bif it," it means "to slip or fall down." My right knee hurt immediately, even as I was still lying, face down in front of 10 strangers, on the landing. To add insulting absurdity to painful injury, the agent helping me was standing in the lot, so I didn't even need to go up there. Ah, yes, thank you for finding my dignity where it was hiding up in the nearest car's wheel well. But what could I do? I got up, dusted myself off, and said I was fine. They upgraded my car to a Volkswagon Passat with a leather interior, Monsoon Sound System and a punchy engine, so I didn't complain. I got on the road and determined to put it behind me.

Three hours later, my knee hurt. I couldn't bend it backward (hello, limping at 1/7th of my usual land speed!) and, as I checked into the hotel, I realized that blood was showing on the outside of my jeans. But I had moved all the tables, hung the sign, set up all the books and lab equipment and gotten back to the hotel (by whatever miracle I managed to navigate the area roads which are, frankly, SADISTICALLY planned/maintained) to eat some reasonably-priced room service and ice my knee. I picked up my partner C, who had a final that day and couldn't arrive until later, from the airport. We slept too little that night, but at least I could face the next day with a buddy.

The swelling went down from double the usual knee size to just slightly swollen and stiff. We talked all day with homeschoolers and with each other and we made plans to the hit the town with G and H, K's cousins who live near Boston. That night they drove us around the city and we ate at a North End restaurant called Bella Vista and then had cheesecake and cappuccinos at another spot down the street. What a ball! C fit right in with the fam (yay for sarcasm and people who appreciate it!) and it was nice to do something other than just loafing around in our off hours. Oh, don't get me wrong, we LOVE the loafing, but we were an hour away from a major city - we liked taking advantage even better. By the time we got home that night, we were beat but happy.

Saturday, too, went well. Clean up was fast and we came back to hotel and sat in the hot tub for a while. We stayed at a Crown Plaza and it was perpetually busy. Every night saw some sort of conference or silent auction - there was even a prom on Friday night! Saturday night was middle-agers dressed to the nines and toting wine glasses. We felt ridiculous winding through that perfumed crowd with our quickly dampening clothes over our swim suits, our hair in ponytails, our perfume tinged with strong notes of chlorine.

The ride home wasn't a problem, we said goodbye at the airport and we'll see each other at our last conference together in June. Let's just hope the rental car place has no stairs that time.

Arriving home was marvelous. K picked me up, helped with the bags (bless him, that conference kit suitcase is 65 lbs of unweildiness!) and we pulled in swiftly. I set my purse down on the table and noticed a centerpiece of some kind, but went hunting for cat immediately. When I finally really looked at the table, I realized there were two dozen roses there! I have no idea why it didn't hit me. I was so happy to be home, and I've so often envisioned cut flowers there, I think it just seemed so natural it didn't register. Fortunately, not for long, however, and I was happy to give K the oohs and aahs and smooches that were his due for being so sweet. The conference thing might not be so bad, skinned knees and all.


Moi said...

I empathize ... I into a doorframe today in front of the day janitor, Marta. "Te pegaste?" she asked. I looked down sheepishly, realizing that in Spanish I seemed even more lame ...

Moi said...

I slammed into a doorframe. Obviously this affected my fingers and pride.

G said...

Awwww... what a niec husband you have. :)

Don Quixote said...

I hope you don't expect hazard pay for that conference!