I’m posting this early today because I’m flying to Denver for the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature (AAR/SBL) annual meeting. At least that’s the plan. I don’t have a good track record with Denver and this conference. I’d been attending AAR/SBL since 1991. I can’t recall what year it was when I first attended in Denver. I was still a professor then and had a paper to read. I also had free time (something editors don’t have at conferences). I decided to view the world-famous mineral and dinosaur exhibits at the Museum of Natural History the morning of my paper day. While at the museum something very embarrassing happened—I got sick in public. It was scene-from-a-cheap-movie bad. Literally sprinting to a public waste can to throw up in front of strangers. I’d never been sick at AAR/SBL before, despite the November timing. When I went to read my paper that afternoon, the motion of my eyes made me sick again and I had to sit with my head between my knees while a bunch of biblical scholars looked on with what passes for concern in academic circles.
The second, and last, time I was flying to Denver for the conference there was a small snowstorm. I was flying out of Newark on an evening flight. Because of the snow (which ended up being about two inches) my flight kept getting delayed and delayed. They made the decision to cancel the flight after 11 p.m. by which time all local hotels were full from the earlier cancelled flights. To make matters worse, there was no way out of the airport. All public transit shut down. Even if I could’ve caught a taxi where was I to go? I live in Pennsylvania. With no other choice, I slept on the floor of Newark’s Liberty International Airport. I awoke early, having used my briefcase as a pillow (a step up from a stone, I expect) and found my way to Somerville, where we used to live. My wife picked me up at the train station there and drove me home. I missed the conference, needless to say.
And so you see that I’m a bit dubious about trying this again. I have nothing against Denver. Before getting sick I was enjoying my time there. So, if things go according to plan, I’ll be on a plane headed that direction by the time I usually post my daily thoughts on this blog. Will the Denver curse be broken? Only the next few days will tell. Watch this space.