Thursday, April 3, 2008

Richmond vs. the Five Senses

This past week, I found myself in Virgina for the Southern Graphics Council annual print conference. I'll tell you what, I found myself a little bit out of my comfort zone. Before this, the furthest east I had ever been was South Dakota. Apparently, things get more boring as you head east until you cross the mighty Mississip, that's when my preconceived notions of the world flipped in their head. In this new world, this small-town boy became perfectly aware of absolutely everything happening around me because it was all so new. Come with me--let's recap the happenings.

I feel comfortable around black people. However, that confidence wavers a little when you find yourself at a bus station in D.C., being 1 of 3 white people in a crowd of 50, and you look like you might have some nice things. Good thing I packed my angry eyebrows before I left.

Richmond fit the stereotypical look I thought it would have; lots of trees, red brick houses and white pillars. I really didn't have much time to look around the city since I was watching demonstrations and listening to speakers all day, but it was nice to see spring for a moment before returning home to 1.5 inches of snow on the ground.

There is nothing more annoying than a group of artists at a gallery opening. Several nights were filled with the sounds of yuppies and sycophants trying to impress the crowd with their artistic prowess. With intellects diluted by the free booze, the group stands in front of a piece and argues over possible meanings while trying to "name drop" as many classic and contemporary artists they can remember from past arguments they've been in. Sometimes, a tree is just a tree. Or, maybe I'm the one that doesn't get it.

This reminds me of the .75 star, yet very cost friendly, hotel I stayed in - the Econolodge. What is it that makes their prices so economical? My first guess would be maintenance, and my second guess would be the staff. Anyone running a hotel can have prices that low if there is little to no expense in these two areas. I'm not trying to be negative about it, but it's hard to have good things to say about the room when all you can smell is shower must and deoderizers. If I had packed an extra pair of socks, I would have worn them while I showered.

There are many smells you encounter when riding Greyhound and most of them are bad. I'm blaming it on price. People don't smell too bad on airplanes because they are expensive. The strangers-to-showers bums and hobos are able to beg for bus-fair, and it's easy to spot those odors. No, it's the untrustworthy bowels of the elderly that randomly assault you.

Every morning, the conference would provide the equivalent of a complimentary breakfast. The resourceful starving artist in me saw this as a chance to procure some groceries for the day. The rest of the time, I spent with one of my friends from class. He being a vegan, I was a little worried about the places we would end up eating and what kind of tasteless, fake meat I was going to have to tip for. The menu did accommodate both our dietary needs, but I never got to try the southern bbq I've only heard about on tv. Maybe next time.

I spent one night in D.C. with my sister-in-law and her family. When I was told I'll be sleeping in the basement, my nephews tried to scare me by telling me that all the dismembered doll parts in the closet were going to tickle my uvula and kill me in the night. Kids will be kids, right? As I was getting ready for bed, I closed the door to the basement and started changing into my pajamas. As I was changing, I thought I heard a little bell ringing. I dismissed it till I heard it again - that's when my mind opened to the possibility of doll parts marching across the floor and up my bed like ants on a mission to tickle my uvula. Around 2.30 a.m. is when these doll-ants attacked. Two steps on my back and I was awake and able to see the culprit. Kitty was trying to make friends with me. Her timing was just a little bad.

It's good to be home.