It was a long journey to get here. Three planes that are all less than two hours of a ride is nothing short of exhausting. There used to be direct flights from Bellingham to Salt Lake City, but no longer. We flew from Bellingham, to Seattle, to Portland, to Salt Lake City. The last two planes were small and wobbly.
But we made it, boy howdy did we make it.
The hotel we are staying in is the Little America Hotel, and the conference is just across the street in the Grand America Hotel. We followed some people we thought might also be a part of the conference into a small brick building, with a similarly themed tower of a building behind it.
Everything is marble here, cream and white splintered mauve marble. The ceilings are high, and if I knew about wood I could tell you with great detail the boarders of the hotel on the inside. I could venture a guess and say it’s all maple, simply because I like the alliteration of maple and marble.
We checked in with some confusion, a miscommunication between the school and the hotel, though I think it’s been sorted. I was fairly exhausted, so I retreated fairly quickly to my room,which was in another building. Utah, as it would turn out, is quit chilly. It feels like winter, but there’s something fresh about it. Whereas I generally find myself with an allergy to the bite of threatening snow, the air seemed clean, and welcoming. This was an entirely different cold than I’ve experienced. I’ve been to Eastern Washington during the winter, I’m aware of what desert cold can be, but this is just simply something different, something pleasant.
I took a shower before sitting down on the massive room I had all to myself, and falling asleep. I had been up since 4 in the morning, and now it was twelve hours later, and I was running on less than four hours of sleep–never mind the immense stress flying puts on me (it takes a lot of energy to have flight anxiety, and to experience that three separate times as well). It was my boss’s text that woke me and brought me to the hotel across the street, where the reception was being held for the conference.
I had thought that the first hotel was fancy, but this one was posh on posh. There were people in expensive boarder-line ball gowns, freshly pressed tuxes and live piano playing as well. It was beautiful, and I was widely aware of how I smelled, despite my shower, and that I was wearing the clothes I wore the previous day. I was certain I would be kicked out simply for looking offensive in comparison to these done-up biddies.
However, I relaxed quite a bit when we found those that belonged to the conference. Schools from all over the country had representatives form their writing centers, and all of these students were just as under-prepared as I was. I began to relax. There were wait staff holding silver treys, offering groups of people hors d’oeuvres–little goat cheese and mushroom tartlettes, espresso cups with grilled cheese sandwiches and a swig of tomato soup, and other cute, posh, little nibbles. The chandelier sparkled overhead, and people mingled. I even paid $4.50 for a glass of water. During my journey a student approached me and introduced himself. People do this? I’m more than friendly, of course, but the idea of approaching strangers to engage in conversation with them is terrifying to me (unless I’m on a plane, during which case I’m already terrified and conversation with a stranger helps me). Another student joined. We were all presenting on Saturday, though during different times. We talked for a long time before I needed to excuse myself and just go to bed. It was only 7:30 or so, but I was still suffering from the day.
I made it to my room. My large, silent, empty room. I realized that this was the first time I’d ever had a hotel room to myself. I didn’t really know what to do with the luxury. So naturally, I put on cartoons and ordered room service.
My boss assures me that not all conferences are this fancy, but this is still something that I feel out of depth with, yet oddly at home. There’s something intriguing about this whole experience. As I got ready this morning, shouldered the laptop bag and crossed the frosty parking lot to the lobby of the hotel where there is a cafe, with intent to write (well, blog and write, but let’s face it, NaNoWriMo might be getting a little bit burned on that back burner there), I thought that I could get used to this. Not the poshness, mind you, but the traveling, the being on a business trip that involves writing.
I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m pretty certain I’m on the right track for it.