Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Walking in Memphis- Day 4

I forget that my cell phone is still set to Pacific Time, and thus sleep in too late to go to the symposium on investigations of online dating. It's still another day plum full of learning!
I present my poster at the lunch hour session. Things run relatively smoothly and I end up having some pretty interesting conversation with people, and generally get good feedback.

Ha! No me in that picture!

N. and I sneak out for an hour to get Starbucks, like the stereotypical West Coasters that we are, and to check out the mall, which actually gave us an indication of that "average" Memphis folk did exist. We also stop by the Peabody Hotel, some fancy hotel where real ducks actually swim in the fountain in the lobby. It wasn't nearly as impressive as I expected. Seemed just too concocted and not at all quaint.

Yet more learning. Then, because it is N's birthday, we go out for a celebratory dinner. There I discover the genius that is fried pickles! At first I just ordered them as kind of a joke, since I am such a pickle conoisseur-- but they were seriously really damn good!

After that, we head over to the legendary Lurve. The Lurve is a party put on every year on the last day of the conference. Its location is only revealed via word of mouth on the day of.

We came across this on the way there...

This party was crazyness. It was held at this really big photography gallery, and people were mostly dressed to the nines. To get in, you just provide a bottle of hard liquor, which is added to one of the rubbermaid containers full of their infamous punch. I have never seen so much booze in my life... far into the night there was still probably fifty 40-pounders sitting on the counter beside the huge things of punch.

I lose track of how many cups of the Georgia Peach I consume. Geekyness aside, us grad students can party! Although some of us really shouldn't be dancing.... yikes. Self-Disclosure, in between dissing the music, saying how they need to play some "real rock and roll" and watching us like a patronizing chaperone (I think he sometimes forgets we are half his age and are entitled to act like we're in our 20s every once in a while), actually dances to a song and seems like he has a good time, which is nice. L actually dances and has a few drinks, too, before he heads out to be at the hotel to get a check-in call from his girlfriend who has told him he is not allowed to party while he is away (there's another rant incoming on that topic....). N. and I stay there until 3am, at which point we realize we should probably leave if we have any hope of getting up at 8am to go to Graceland before our flight.

We catch a cab back to the hotel, actually sharing it with a professor from a nearby university who is apparently going home with someone else. Awkward. We drunkenly try to tell the taxi driver that we need food (as we have decided that fast food will surely prevent our hangover), but instead of taking us to a drive-through, it's back to Ghetto Inn. We then walk halfway through a Burger King drive-through before I remember the Duke's blog about failing at a similar experience (and, not being men, we wouldn't have the joy of vengeance via urinating on Burger King later on as he did... that kind of thing takes coordination!). We try to go to a 24-hour convenience store, whose parking lot is mysteriously ridden with cop cars, with no signs of commotion inside. The cashier tells us they're closed. We are drunk and hungry-- drunk enough so that N. discusses whether a metal pole might be edible, though not drunk enough that we would wander through Memphis at 3:30am looking for food-- especially not by the Ghetto Inn. But, fear not, we had a revelation-- hotel vending machines! We excitedly use all our change and load our arms full of chips and popcorn and pepperoni and nuts. We also officially deem that vending machine The Greatest Vending Machine Ever and take pictures of me hugging it. As we are struggling back to the room with our wares, we can't get a door out of the lobby open. The clerk demonstrates how, saying "It's just like when you break into a room with a credit card, you know?". See? Very ghetto. We gorge ourselves in our room and fall into a drunken slumber.

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