June 18th, 2004

Fishy Circumstances

Woods Hole at night

Fog closes in, obscuring the origins of the lights bobbing on the waters. The town is hushed, infrequently interupted by the eery bellowing of the ferry horn, an alarm to other vessels, or a cry for help, as it was the other night when it stranded. The streetlights are softened. An occasional droplet coalesces on my skin as we walk back from an evening at Captain Kidd's Pirate Bar.

It's a well-stocked bar, complete with pineapple and grapefruit juice and a respectable array of beers on tap. Even I can recognize this, and I don't drink them. The bar is all built in darkened woods, with exposed rafters. Old life preservers, stenciled words faded, hang on the wall. The chairs are all small barrels. Despite all this, the pirate-themed atmosphere is skin deep. At heart, it is an upscale bar, as is nearly every eating establishment I have seen in this town, catering to the tourists and the residents of Martha's Vineyard. This is why the selection, even of mixed drinks, is so good.

We sat on the back porch, built out over the water of the harbor, boats receding into the fog as it gathered over the course of the evening. We discussed the week, the speakers, our speaking styles, stories, our forthcoming travels, and finally drifted off into politics before the evening grew too late. Many of us went back to the hotel then, trailing goodbyes and best wishes in our wake. They'll go on through tomorrow morning, at least for me: breakfast, the bus ride.

It's been an amazing week, a week of reading, editing, writing, discussing, bonding, and eating an extraordinary array of good food. And I've spent this week with an amazing group of people: graduate students, post-docs, young faculty, an independant scholar, popular science writers, science journalists, professors, and deans. They're good people, all, and we all got on well. It was a very egalitarian, supportive, constructive, and thoughtful group. I wish I could ask them to edit all of my papers.
Fishy Circumstances


* The trip from Woods Hole to Connecticut was generally uneventful, give or take a half hour delay caused by immobile traffic; which, in turn, may have been caused by construction, but I'm not sure. I read the whole way, The Shadow of the Lion by Mercedes Lackey and various other people. It's set in a fantasy-world Venice. Some of the characters spend a great deal of time on rooftops, where there are a notable lack of pigeons. Also, everytime characters go anywhere, the destinations are several miles apart. They must go out of their way to find places no where near each other.

* It turns out that the hotel had unlimited free local calling, despite signs in the rooms. If I had known, I might not have curtailed my comments and online work as much as I did. On the other hand, my days were full and busy enough as was without trying to fit even more into them.

* I can't find a phone jack in the room I'm staying in now. I know there must be one somewhere. Mustn't there? So I'm using my grandmother's computer instead, which isn't near so convenient for me: especially since it means I actually have to see the spam I receive for once.

* Is the writing workshop over already?