Monday, February 05, 2007

The Family We Choose

I wrote this post while I was in Memphis. I titled it “the ghosts of conferences past”. But then I realized this entry was about so much more than that.

M., L. and I were reminiscing about other conferences we’ve been to last night. I was one year ahead of them in the program, they are both just finishing up grad school and are on the job market this year.

As an aside, they both rock and I am SO proud of them and what they’ve done. I am terribly impressed with their grace in handling such a crappy time in their careers – there is (not counting tenure review) just about nothing as scary for an academic as their first entry into the job market. I feel badly that I haven’t been as supportive as I would like to be, but I hope they know that I am *always* thinking of them, even when I’m too wrapped up in my own drama to say that as often as I should. And I’m not just saying that because I think they read my blog.

Anyway, this is the first conference I’ve attended just for fun. But that doesn’t mean previous conferences weren’t totally fun, they were and as we talked yesterday I remembered things I hadn’t thought about in years. Like how L. and P.B. tried to retrieve beads from a tree in New Orleans. Or on that same trip how P.B. and I were accidentally drunk before L. and M. even got to the hotel from the airport (who knew daquiris meant something totally different, and more alcoholic, in N.O.?). Or how I crashed in their room when I was out late and didn’t want to wake up my stodgy roommates before we started rooming together. How we saw Nicole Brown Simpson’s house in L.A. and freaked out because it was so creepy. How we saw Chris Rock and I kept telling everyone to “be cool” and not look at him. How we danced at a nightclub in Savannah and how two guys in our program rescued us from creepy boys by pretending to be our husbands. How we saw The Practice guy and tried to take surreptitious pictures of him. How L. and I totally got our fill of the King at Graceland this year.

And all of our Chicago experiences, where the other annual conference we attend is held every eyery year. M.’s unfortunate, but totally hysterical, experience with a rum keg (which she thought was a rum cake – big difference) at Trader Vic’s. Getting hit on by skeezy old men that are famous in our field. Dim sum at China Town, shopping on the mile, the world’s biggest bar tab at Sky Bar, and deep dish pizza three nights in a row. L. falling off a stool at Dunkin’ Donuts and swearing someone pushed her. Another friend, B. sliding across the lobby of the Palmer House Hilton, which is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

And other things, things that kind of sucked, like Leslie’s uncle passing away right before our LA trip and me getting pickpocketed in Chicago. And PB having his first seizure in Chicago. And me realizing I wanted to have kids and keeping L up half the night before her talk. Again in Chicago… maybe that’s just not our town.

And it’s not just conferences, L., M. and I have had *so* many good times, both here in Ohio and on our other trips and visits. And so many crappy times (surgeries, break ups, career crises, , generals). The thing is, it doesn’t matter. Good times or bad, close to me or far away, I know they will always be there when I need them. I’m really not the type to have close female friends and I never expected to find women I think of more as my sisters… I guess, overall, what I’m trying to say, really, is how thankful I am that they’re in my life. And how bummed I will be when they both go off to start their incredible new careers. I love you, girls.

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