Back from Boston

My trip to the PCA/ACA conference is Boston is over. I was supposed to get back into Memphis late Sunday night, but my flight was canceled. I persuaded (isn’t it fortunate I’m getting a degree in rhetoric?) US Airways to give me hotel and food vouchers, and I stayed a night in the Embassy Suites in Boston, a hotel far above my station. I got to see the Sopranos premiere, even. H picked me up Monday afternoon.

The conference itself was rather blah. The 20 panels on rhetcomp were sparsely attended, despite all of them being held in a ballroom roughly the size of Patterson Hall. I might have seen 15 people once. 7-10 was more typical. Small groups are better for questions, of course.

By Friday, half the panelists were missing, and by the time of my panel (No. 788 of 800) came around on Saturday, there were 2 people in the audience, and both of them had come to see one of the other 3 panelists – who had not shown up (although her spouse had come to read her paper). And yet the show must go on. The papers were interesting, at least. I even managed to rocket through my 35-minute Powerpoint in 20 minutes.

The good side of the trip was seeing old friends from when I used to live in Boston. I managed to see J and M and their daughter W (with R due in late April). I also saw S, who I have not seen in years, and her beau D.

These visits with friends made the expense worthwhile. I didn’t get any support from the department or the college, unfortunately; the department’s travel budget was exhausted halfway through the year and the A&S deadline for applying for spring travel was after I got confirmation that my abstract was accepted. I minimized some expense by staying in a pleasant if cramped guest house not far from Copley, where the convention was.

Boston hasn’t changed much, though it has gotten more expensive (the T costs $2.00 a ride now, instead of $1). Internet connectivity was surprisingly lousy. I bought an oldie but a goodie laptop to take with me so I could keep up with things, but the net was erratic at best. The conference had spotty wireless, and my tiny hotel had a decent setup, but the airport and Embassy Suites charged princely sums for poor connections that I was unwilling to pay. Frankly, I was surprised to find such a tech-savvy city not blanketed with open wireless points.

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