Saturday, November 16, 2013


When David draws open the drapes in our room at the Hampton Inn all he can see is flat land, empty, vast land.  Fortunately the sun is shining this morning. It should be a nicer day.

The breakfast spread is actually not bad: cereals, waffles, eggs, oatmeal, pastries, fruits, juices, coffee.  I can only drink coffee when I first get up; later I have some cereal.  Two big men speak loudly around us and we are not happy.  It's too early to be so loud.  I look at them but David tells me not to say anything.  Ok, ok, I'm just looking.  Then I go back up to the room. 

David finds a warm nook in the swimming pool area where we sit and read, the sun warming us up, the smell of chlorine tempting me.  I wish I had brought a bathing suit, I tell David and toy with the idea of jumping in the water with my underwear.  After all, there is no one around.  

After checkout, we drive to Western Illinois University and find the Student Union, go to the cafeteria.  This is the worst cafeteria I've seen. David agrees.  A few concessions: Burger King, Sbarro, Einstein's Bagels, and a few tables for too many people.  I can't believe it.  It's impossible to finish my penne with tomato sauce: too watery, no flavor.  

There are still a couple of hours before the program but the wind is too strong and cold to go for a stroll. We find an area upstairs with sofas and plant ourselves to read and wait.  Finally the time comes for the show.  There is a cool breeze in the Sandburg Theater but the organizer promises it will warm up.  Slowly students filter in, take a seat.  I am being taped for posterity (or something like that).  

My power point presentation seems to have disappeared when I start.  I panic but soon I find the photos and continue with the talk.  Students are lethargic.  Some look down, no doubt on their cell phones.  When I'm finished the questions are few.  I ask them questions but they stare, no reaction.  

Let's go.  The drive is long and it's already four thirty, I tell David.  

The drive back doesn't seem as long as the drive there.  Book-on-tape helps make the time go faster.  

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