Saturday, October 21, 2006

Conferencing

Am checking in from Tulsa right now, reading blogs instead of listening to one of three keynote speaker events. In all fairness, I tried to listen to the keynote, but got distracted thinking of opening phrases for my own paper, which is after lunch.

The current question right now among my group of college friends is whether or not to attend the 5-year reunion next May. This was prompted by a set of emails from our class liason asking for "updates" to put into a "5-year reunion book" that will be sent to everyone in the class, whether or not we pay the requested $60 (!?!) for it. I am all in favor of treating my undergrad institution like the guy on the street waving flyers for the new hair salon in my face. Ignore it for long enough, and eventually it'll leave you alone and wave its flyers in other pedestrians' faces. However, a couple of folks are making the case that it will be some sort of vindication to go back, have reunion, just without the self-importance that characterizes the horrific sample entries in this 5-year-plan book (sending in parodies featuring years smoking hash in Morocco, etc.). My view is if you feed the goat (goat = university) trash or delicious oats, it won't matter, you're still feeding it and training it to come back for more. And I don't really want a big stuffy goat nudging me every five years for the rest of my life.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, I know where you are! I have a friend who's also there, speaking on Plath's annotations.

Hope you have fun!

Flavia said...

Oh come now: do you REALLY think that your alma mater will leave you alone if you don't go to your 5-year reunion? I have a friend who didn't attend our 5-year, has never signed up with the alumni association or given any money to our school, AND who has lived abroad and all over the country--and our alumni magazine still shows up in her mailbox within a few months of her landing in any new location. Despite the fact that she has a ridiculously common name. You cannot escape the long arm of an institution that has some faint hope of getting money and/or glory-by-association from you someday.

I didn't particularly want to go to my 5-year and was dreading all the people I'd see there--but since I was living right in town (grad school = same as undergrad), and since I had two good friends who I never saw anymore who were attending, I sucked it up. And you know, it was actually a totally fun time, although the fact that there was serious, SERIOUS free booze, and that it was only 9 months after 9/11, may have contributed to the weirdly warm and loving mood--everyone really just seemed happy to see everyone else and to catch up on their lives. Even people who'd been famous for exhibiting what my friends and I had once called "The [Alma Mater] Cold Shoulder."

So, I'd say to go if you have at least two or three good friends who are going and who you have a good time hanging out with--and if it's not too expensive/too much of a hassle.

kermitthefrog said...

Jane - Cool! And it was indeed fun, although I'm afraid I missed your friend's panel.

Flavia - You felt the need to inject reality into my scenario? Sigh. I know you're right, and the truth is I'll end up going if this group does as well. But for a few minutes, I was crossing my fingers that we'd end up at our own private reunion in Sweden, where one of my friends lives - now *there* I'd visit in a heartbeat.