My name is Matthew and I am on the internet a lot.
One year ago Jason and I found ourselves in New Haven, where he was speaking on a panel at the IvyQ conference (for queers in the Ivy League, if that wasn’t clear). They paid for us to take a train down, so we left the car and decided to have a fun weekend in New Haven, a city which we’d never explored at all except for the occasional stop at the Ikea that’s right next to the highway.
And then the snow hit!
So many terrible things happened, not all of which were related to co-eds who self-identify as Yalies. (Although boy have I never liked Brown students so much. At one talk, a woman described moving from a rough childhood in Africa into an equally rough marriage in Nebraska; when one student’s phone started ringing he shooed her with his hands and announced that she should keep going.)
Then our train home got canceled three times, if not four times. The whole city shut down, except (thank God) the movie theater. Ira Sachs didn’t show up. Cynthia Nixon didn’t show up. Sarah Schulman didn’t show up.
The first night at our hotel all the guests, including most of the Cornell women’s basketball team, gathered in the closed restaurant to hang out and drink together. We made friends with a couple who had checked into a different hotel but whose car got stuck in front of ours as they were driving back from dinner; they didn’t make it. The hotel manager had food poisoning. The other hotel managers were all too far away to make it in. A TV news crew showed up but only because they too couldn’t drive back to wherever they were going. One man fell off his barstool. The lady basketball players took care of him; you could tell they were experienced in these things. Eventually the hotel staff brought him back to his room in a wheelchair.
Everything reached a crescendo when we went to bed and the fire alarm went off. Half asleep and more than half drunk everyone stumbled down six flights of stairs to the lobby, where water poured from the ceiling, into the restaurant and on the business center computers. We thought the roof had collapsed, but it was way more ridiculous than that: some guys were smoking something (presumably not cigarettes) in their room and when the smoke detector went off they decided to break the sprinkler. Three floors ended up flooded. According to Jasmine at the reception desk—everyone that works at that hotel deserved some kind of big bonus for that weekend—the guys fled into the blizzard, soaking wet and never to be seen again.
“ I think the bigger point here is that the thing “everybody’s talking about” isn’t really being talked about by everybody. It’s being talked about by people you know. ”
Or, a point that I think needs to be made more often. (I still have no idea how to avoid thinkpieces about Looking, though.)