Friday, January 6, 2012

Hungover Horst Checks in From Seattle.

Horst was infamous over at RYS for getting the Modern Language Association convention lobby exactly right.

He's promised to stay sober (sorta) and update us from the massive English / Foreign Language "clusterfuck-job-orgy" that is in Seattle at this very moment.


There is no place on earth as sad as the MLA main hotel lobby. When I arrived moments ago (a whole day fashionably late), the Sheraton in downtown Seattle was filled with such horrible walking cliches that it took all my strength not to run wildly into their tightly packed groups, bowling them over like the bespectacled goons they all are.

(18th century folks cluster. 19th century folks cluster. Those contemporary sorts try to affect a little distance, but they end up clustering as well. I don't know what the foreign language people are doing; three of them are wearing hats, indoors, 2 women and 1 man, and it's all the same hat!!)

Everyone's in black. The name tags hang sadly from twine, ropes, even a silver chain that one dandy probably bought in Santa Fe last summer and held on to for this very occasion.

The tiny glasses, oh the tiny, square glasses. If you picture an architect from Belgium, this is what everyone looks like.

And the conversation. Good god. I won't even transcribe it. It's inane like it comes out of a firehose.

Wait, Kona just came with my room service order. In addition to the flight and king size room, I get $50 per diem from the university. I didn't have lunch. $50 buys me the meal to the right: rare roast beef and cheddar sandwich (with shoestrings), double chocolate cake, a diet Coke, and a Red Hook beer. I sprung for Kona's sawbuck tip. So, the meal's a little heavy. So, I won't live forever, is that what you think? Wait, I'm a fucking language prof - for a job - it already has FELT like forever.

I will leave this room exactly twice between now and Sunday, once to get in a cab and get the fuck back home, and once tomorrow to go read my hastily prepared and completely useless paper to a dozen people who couldn't give a shit less.

The MLA rocks!

Hungover (not yet, but soon) Horst


  1. Seattle is a fun city. During a visit several years ago, some drunk Asian guy flipped me off with both hands - outside my hotel. So I punched him in the face.

  2. Belgian architects!!! That one's going to stay with me for a while.

  3. Nardo,

    Perhaps he was angry because of non-dischargeable student loans. You shouldn't have judged him so harshly.

  4. Personally, I think every department needs someone like Yaro AND someone like Horst. There are times when being around academics is too taxing, and when Horst comes around, I celebrate a little with him. That looks like a big piece of cake, by the way.

  5. I like Horst and is, uh, ENERGY, but the MLA is not that bad. Sure, there are a lot of nutty characters, but that's part of the charm of the thing.

    I get to see old pals. We get to dress up a little...yes, I have a black, slim cut pantsuit that looks vaguely "European." But I had Lasik so don't need the requisite tiny glasses.

    I saw one guy in the elevator, though, last night, who just seemed defeated by the crush of name-tag-swingers.

    I asked him, "Here for the convention?" And he said, "Yes....unfortunately."

    Horst, was it you? Hehe.

  6. My college only gives me a $20 per diem. Of course there are lots of open bars through publishers and so on, and you can eat a LOT of cheese that way.

  7. I dunno; just blue-skying here, but maybe if your paper wasn't so hastily prepared, people might give more of a shit?


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