Fermicat suggested I write about the crazy times we have at physics conferences. (Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the other wonderful suggestions. I will need a little time for them.) While there have been times like what she described on her blog where we meet up with other groups (I vaguely remember 2 Russian physicists and a bottle of sake in
But what I want to write about today is my first and still favorite APS conference in
To save money, we flew into
We did a little sightseeing in
By the time last call was drawing near at our fourth or fifth stop, we had moved on to tequila shots and I was swooning over that bar’s singer, not really listening as James reminisced about him and his then-girlfriend. Jeff was trying to pick up some girl by deriving the Lorentz factor on a napkin. After closing we stopped for a snack at a local pizza by the slice place where I boldly broke out my college French skills. We barely beat the sun back to the hotel and managed four hours sleep before we had to get up and catch our flight back to Tampa.
Needless to say, all three of us woke up still incredibly inebriated from the previous night’s exploits. Even though it was tempting to sleep later, we gave ourselves four hours before our flight left: two hours to get to the airport, two hours to get checked in. I crawled in the back seat and passed out again on the drive across the border. I awoke to a tense conversation between Jeff and James. Apparently James the navigator had missed a turn somewhere and now we were lost. We decided to drive “along the hypotenuse” rather than turn around and make two turns. Not anticipating how much winding the back roads of
We found our way to the border, only to get stopped by customs. Why were we crossing the border in a town so off the beaten path? They were quite suspicious of us hooligans and searched the car and our luggage. We had to fill out claims forms, which James was unable to do due his continued alcohol impairment. After getting dirty looks from the border patrol, he confessed to being still drunk from the last night and we had to promise not to let him drive. Then they told us how to get back on the interstate.
By this time we were severely pressing our departure time. Jeff was doing 80 mph on the
We continued to barrel down the highway until we came to am impasse where we took yet another wrong turn. It was at this time, like a surgeon who knows she has lost a patient I declared, “It’s over.” We all knew it. It was time to give up, be safe and just get to the airport in one piece. When we finally got there, our flight was loooong gone but the lady at the counter was nice enough not to charge us for new flights. I will never forget that. Unfortunately, there weren’t any flights to Tampa for two days. She ended up putting us on an evening flight to DC and a connection to Miami the following day. We checked our bags and left James by the baggage carousel where he passed out (despite all the bustle and the frequent beeping from incoming luggage). Jeff and I spent the day roaming around downtown Burlington. It was fantastic. Such a beautiful, vibrant town. We ate off our hangovers at an amazing diner and went to collect James from his bench.
We spent that night at a hotel in DC hanging out with a former grad student that had moved there a couple years earlier. I didn’t know him before that night but he was really cool. The next morning we flew into
Reminiscing like that makes me realize just how much has changed since that now legendary trip. However, it takes maturity to go through what we have and still look back fondly on all those good times, independent of the hurt that is to come.