Welcome to Baltimore

I don’t “love” many things, but I do love travelling…traveling…going places.  It makes me feel important to go places, like I have “business” to take care of here or there.  Airports have always fascinated me, train stations too.  This week I’m in Baltimore, Maryland, the Inner Harbor area for an education conference.  So far, very little has gone well.

1.  You’d think that the people arranging the hotels would have arranged for a Monday night arrival because the first day of the conference was Tuesday morning at 8am.  Not everyone lives close enough to drive here Tuesday morning, and I’m sure those people were here last night.  Not me.  Why is that important?  See #2.

2.  The headline in today’s paper says, “Water Main Break Disrupts City.”  That means it took almost two hours to get from the edge of the city to my hotel room.  I’m on Light Street.  At least a block in each direction is closed to traffic.  I had to park two blocks away and walk to the hotel, check in, then walk four blocks to the convention center in order to be two hours late.  In the picture below, my hotel is the large building right-center.  The positive is that I can walk around easily without getting hit by a car.  Helps when walking the damn dog, which they luckily allow here for an extra fee of $100.

3.  I hate conference presenters.  They made you do stupid things just to kill time.  They LOVE these friggin’ things they call “ice breakers.”  It’s a dumb thing to get you in a conversation with others, and it helps the presenter waste about 15 minutes.  It’ll go something like this:  “Okay people.  You’ll each find an index card in front of you, and a pen.  Just write the month in which you were born on the card.  Okay, now everyone who wrote a 1, 2, or 3, you gather in this corner of the room.  Those with 4, 5, and 6, this corner of the room…”  And then we just introduce ourselves and pretend we don’t want to punch the presenter.

4.  I hate conference presenters.  Our agenda for the day says lunch is from 11:45 to 1pm.  The presenters said, “Hey everybody, we want to help get you out of here as early as possible (translation – WE want to get out of here a.s.a.p.), so if you want, we’ll cut lunch to 45 minutes instead of an hour 15 minutes, and then we can all leave 30 minutes early.  Okay?  Raise your hands if you’re good with that.”  And then pretty much everyone raises their hands.  And then I sit quietly, and then I stand and raise my hand and say, “Excuse me, sir.  Here’s the thing.  You gave us an agenda that said lunch is until 1pm.  I made plans to have lunch until 1pm, and it’s a little unprofessional to put people on the spot with that request.  If 99% of us raise our hands to end lunch early, that puts unfair peer pressure on the 1%.  So you can do whatever you like, but I’m not coming back until 1.  Just letting you know now.”

This does two things.  1. It lets me take my time at lunch.  B. It asserts myself so that neither the presenters nor anyone else is going to mess with me the rest of the week.

5.  I hate conference attendees.  They’re rude.  They carry on conversations and ignore the presenters.  They are just happy to spend a school district’s money on hotels, bars, restaurants, and have no interest in learning what they’re here for.  Meanwhile, I can’t hear the presenter, and I have this stupid empathy thing that causes me to feel the embarrassment that I imagine the presenter is feeling.  Also, I know the presenter hates the disrespectful attendees, and then I feel part of a group that’s labeled disrespectful instead of being judged as the individual that I am.

6.  I do stupid things.  Look at this door to the room across the hall from mine.  See the two different door knockers and peep holes?  I thought it was the cutest thing.  When I saw a hotel staff member approaching, I asked, “Hey, that door.  That’s cool.  Is that for kids?”  He said, “No, sir.  That’s for disabled people, like those in wheelchairs.”  All I could do was imagine that someone was wheeling up behind me right then and there to give me some kind of evil eye, which would be fully deserved.

So, day One is over, it’s officially 101º, and of course the local baseball team is playing away, so there’s not much to do except – complain.

79 thoughts on “Welcome to Baltimore

    • that would be fun. i’ve presented in my school, and it was fun, and people were a little bit rude, but i knew them all. i also know how to stop the yapping by simply walking around the room, making better eye contact, and also pointing out how it’s rude before it starts.

  1. You should wear a colorful wig (blue maybe) to the next conference. People watching is one of my favorite things to do and sometimes it is fun being the one people like to watch. Of course, it might not work as well for a man as it does for a girl!

  2. When I travel I always, to Leigh’s chagrin, have every cool foodie place imaginable scouted out ahead. I hope that portion of your trip was better than what you alluded to above.

  3. When I saw the picture of the door with two peepholes, the first thing that came to mind was not kids or disabled people, but midgets, though I think they like to be called little people. Though if you’re looking out of a peephole that is that low, aren’t you looking at normal sized, non-disabled people’s private parts instead of their faces unless the person knocking on the door is also midget sized?

    So many questions to ponder at a conference!

  4. A. Cheer up you grump
    2. What kind of dog do you have?
    3. Why are you there if your not a teacher anymore?
    D. I wouldn’t have thought about children even I would have mocked them as idiots haha
    Finally sorry I’m so nosey!

  5. love travel, love conferences, meeting new people and taking notes for future stories about how all those peeps act. Also really like making new contacts and interacting with them. Really enjoyed reading a different perspective, yours, hehehe. Seriously will never look at a conference the same, now 😉

  6. It’s not summer in Maryland or DC without regular water main breaks. Actually, they break at all times of the year. There are some good restaurants at the Inner Harbor, though, if that helps.

  7. Shake things up and do something you wouldn’y normally do for day 2. Maybe you should do a lot of things you wouldn’t normally do just to have a different outcome. It could make a surprising post! C’mon, go ahead…you’ve got nothing to lose.

      • Subtlety is not my strong suit, but I try. So… I’m sure, with ALL those people around, you have plenty of opportunities to be a rogue. I want a story Rich. please ( I say as my finger runs along your neck line to … I don’t know where : )

      • (my subtlety always reverts to something stronger and sexual – that’s why it’s not my strong suit. I normally keep that fact hidden) imagine I’m sitiing next to you at the conference egging you on in some physical way…(see how I quickly move to obnoxious and leave subtle behind. Gotta work on that. I’ll stop.)

      • I just went to your site and suddenly the room was full of so many respectable friends of yours – I even saw a nun. I’ll leave you with kiss on your neck as my hand “rests” between your thighs as I tell you that I’ll meet you at the restaurant with a dress and no underwear so you can do something you wouldn’t normally do. Bring all 7 cards – we will defintely use 3 before dessert.

      • You’re perceptive. It was a gentle little tug to push your “playful, what the hell” button. Maybe I should have just answered with “Double Dog Dare You” but I’m not that pushy.

  8. I always am amazed at how teachers/educators can be such a rude audience…given that they expect their students to be library quiet when they are talking….wth?

  9. Interesting that I too enjoy travel and a fascination with airports! Also, as an attendee of many conferences in my life, you had me laughing and nodding. Meanwhile, yesterday I attended Handbell Musicians of America conference. 🙂

  10. Rich,
    The only thing I knew about Baltimore is what John Waters and Barry Levinson have told me through their movies. Never have they mentioned anything about knockers for the handicap. I feel cheated, even if I know why Johnny Depp cries a single tear…
    Le Clown

    • it’s a shrunken city. there is not nearly as much to do as new york, but at least all the good stuff is easily reached. it’s a good place for a weekend but not a week visit.

  11. I live in Baltimore. It sucks that you’re here at such a miserable time, with the water main break and the damn incessant heat. There’s actually a lot to do here — the stuff around the Inner Harbor is most famous, but it’s also the most expensive. Try Woodberry Kitchen for a fancy meal, if that’s what you’re looking for; the Baltimore Museum of Art is pretty great, as is the American Visionary Art Museum (which won’t require you to take a train or taxi, if you’re okay with a little walk); the Baltimore Symphony is pretty great, even for those of us, like me, who aren’t really ‘into’ classical music; if you’re here over a weekend evening there are ghost tours; there’s a great Italian pastry/gelato shop called Vaccaro’s in Little Italy, which is right next to the Inner Harbor; I could go on. There’s no reason to be bored here.

    • oh, not bored at all. if i said that, i mis-typed. i had a great meal at supano’s on river street. talked to the owner for a half hour, got a tour of the building, and a card for a free bottle of wine when i come back again – which will be tonight. actually, he gave me seven of those cards.

  12. The ice breakers sound like the torture I endured everyday of the first weeks of my capstone course in college. I was convinced my professor was a confused kindergarten teacher who applied for the wrong job but just went with it. What’s Baltimore like? It was really that hot?

    • Baltimore is a nice, compact city. The inner harbor area is a lovely place to spend a weekend, especially if the orioles are playing at home. As for the heat, the whole mid atlantic area from south carolina to new york was around 100 or higher at that time.

      • harbor has a science center, aquarium, submarine, clipper ship, cheesecake factory, good irish pub, hard rock cafe, and then there’s fels point, which is a cobblestone street with bar after bar, live music, and fun places. if you ever go to baltimore, let me know because i have cards that get $30 off a bottle of wine at a great italian restaurant there called supano’s.

  13. I agree agree agree. All I can say is “I hate conferences.” When I actually attend a good one I will let you know (after I’m revived from a state of shock).

  14. It’s too bad the O’s were out of town. I mean, you might have actually witnessed them win a game (something locals haven’t really been able to do in 15 years. . . until now).

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