15 August 2006

The not-so-easy Big Easy

New Orleans is not the kind of place to spend twelve hours. In that twelve hours, I ate two amazing meals -- Catfish Pecan for lunch and seafood-stuffed ahi tuna for dinner. After dinner, I forced myself not to drink too much Abita, because I knew the 5am airport shuttle pick-up, even sober, would suck the mad bizzalls. I could've used another couple days to become one with my environment.

Emily was there attending the APA conference. I went the first day as her guest, and actually had fun just wandering around, playing the role of crazy rogue psychologist. With inappropriate gin camouflaged in a plastic soda bottle, I sported equally inappropriate conference attire, complete with blaze orange hunting cap. Who wants to blend in with the sea of slacks and polos?

Having never gone to a professional conference before, one aspect I did not expect was poster presentations. Instead of having a scheduled time and room for the organized presentation of a project, some psychologists chose to have a scheduled time and posterboard where they stood and answered questions about their poster-form presentation. Most posters were a little lacking in visual stimulus, making them hard to understand in the few minutes I spent absorbing. The posters that did have pictures, graphs, etc. usually got the point across much faster and more thoroughly. I'll keep that in mind for next year when APA meets in San Francisco. Until then, I will brainstorm my very own un-APA-accredited, unofficial, possibly inappropriate poster to present at one of the empty boards. I'll load it with graphics on the topic of "Toddler Drug Use: Are the Teletubbies to Blame?" The hardest part is going to be keeping a straight face while answering questions -- and there will be questions. I'll be surrounded by real psychologists.

Even though I spent less time in New Orleans than I did traveling to and from, I still had fun there. Conferences are fun. New Orleans cuisine was fun. The quieter bars were fun. The streets smelled like detritus, but cities aren't often noted for fragrance. Had I known about Emily's surprise to bring me for a day, I probably would have refused to go. Long trips for short amounts of enjoyment aren't really my thing. But since I did get on that plane, I went, I saw, and I rung the crude juice out of my time there.

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