Sunday, July 18, 2010

These Vagabond Shoes, They're Longing to Stray

I spent the weekend in New York City and saw exactly none of it.

That's not quite true.  I saw much of the hotel lobby, the conference rooms on floors 2 and 3 of the Hilton New York and spent some time in my executive suite on the 40th floor.  (Because, obviously, I am an executive who needs a suite).

The conference was for the learning center for which I still work part time, but which has an owner getting ready who retire who keeps trying to talk me into taking it on full time.  And he's starting to become very persuasive.

Owning a learning center isn't exactly what I imagined when I embarked on a PhD program so many, many years ago.  But when I started grad school, I was going to finish in five or six years, take the first good tenure track job that came along in Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, or Boulder, and David and I were going to relocate.

Reality check:  There ARE NO TENURE-TRACK JOBS.  I'll save you the careful qualifications and the long-winded monologue about the plight of the humanities in higher education.  I've been very fortunate to line up great teaching positions for the fall and I'm lucky to live in a city with so many colleges and universities.  But the fact of the matter is that although I love teaching literature, most of my time will be spent teaching composition.  And although I don't mind teaching composition, it can wear on a body. 

All in all, "full time" at this learning center could be a real possibility.

To be determined.

At any rate, I spent the weekend at the conference which was exhausting but informative.  Also, I packed only a carry-on bag which is only the second time in history this has ever happened.  And let me tell you, it sure is much less of a hassle to not worry about checking bags.  Still, I wished I'd thrown in an extra sweater (the AC was freezing) and maybe another pair of shoes...  This is why packing a carry on bag is difficult.

As far as the city goes, I knew that I wasn't getting an all-expense paid trip there to sight see.  And I've visited New York a couple of times previously so I've done most of the major tourist stuff already. But it still seemed like a shame to spend a weekend in the Big Apple and only venture outside the hotel to walk to Jamba Juice.  So I managed to make a break from the hotel between Saturday's "Grand Assembly" and "Gala Dinner" and hailed a cab (read: stood in the taxi line in front of hotel) to take me to the Met.  I went with another conference-goer who was from Canada and incredibly pleasant and very nice as it seems to me that everyone from Canada is.

It was a whirlwind tour because who goes to the Met when you only have an hour to spare?  Me, that's who.  It was worth it for the American Woman exhibit, which had dresses and shoes from nineteenth-century society girls through Gibson Girls, Suffragettes, Flappers, and Screen Sirens of 1930s Hollywood.  Fashion is quite possibly my favorite kind of art, so I loved every part of it.  And I totally would have worn any one of the flapper dresses.  Hott.  Tore myself away from the museum gift shop (I could spend an entire afternoon in the shop alone) and made it back in plenty of time to gussy up in my non-flapper dress for the gala.

The weekend was like a practice trip for our real vacation:  on Wednesday we leave for Korea.  I hope to see a little more of Seoul than I saw of New York.  Also, I'll remember my camera.

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