segunda-feira, 26 de novembro de 2012

Journey to Utopia: Day Seven

The next morning I woke up early again. I had planned to watch Wylie's presentation and it was the first session like mine had been but he had discouraged me to do so. I preferred sleeping one hour more and got the following train to Toronto. Although it was Saturday and Dale's mother was not going to work she agreed on giving me a ride to the station. We said goodbyes and I took my bags with me. I would not be returning to Newmarket. The plan was, after the conference, Dale was going to meet me downtown, have dinner with me and take me to the bus station. My bus to Montréal would live at midnight.

On the train I saw someone who was very similar to my cousin.

I got there in time to see the end of the first panel. The following would be the one I would be chairing about The Occupy movement and others. There were three people that were supposed to speak. I waited for them and introduced myself. What happened was each would have 15 minutes to talk, then we would open for questions. One of the presenters did not show up, apparently he was in the hospital, so John, one of the presenters, said they had prepared a workshop and he wanted to take teh other guy's time of presentation. And he asked for a risky thing: he wanted the other presenter to talk, open for questions and after that he would start his part. And as I expected it didn't work. People had questions and kept asking him and we went over the time I had assigned for the questions. The workshop started and some people got frustrated. It was more like case studies and he would ask us our opinions about the situations. Things got spooky when he started comparing grassroots today with biblical metaphors. However, as a discussion it was fine.

After that there would be the business lunch. I hadn't participated last year but I got informed and learned that all members of the society could and should. The enrollment fee included it. So much better I wouldn't have to spend time looking for a place. The food was very good and it was worthy because I started talking to Peter Fitting. He was one of the conference hosts and organizer so I thought it would be almost impossible to talk to him for some time. I wanted him to give me some tips on how to carry out my research, if there could be any way to direct my efforts, still lacking focus of whatever type. Why was I still going so vague?

I sat with him during lunch and we had a chance to talk for a bit. Even in the line before getting the food. He was asking me about everything: what I was reading, what topics would interest me. After lunch, I went to Wylie's room to get my bag he had taken upstairs earlier and when I came downstairs, Peter said we should find a place to sit and talk more. There were some couches and a coffee table in the elevator lobby.

It was quite an experience. We sat there and minutes turned into hours. We talked about books and readings. Then Phil Wegner came around. He asked us what we were doing and we told him we were talking about my research. He said he was the one who was supposed to be doing that. Peter invited him to sit and he also gave his opinion on what should be some nice ways to approach what I wanted to talk about. It was funny because they started debating books, people, some gossip here and there. I was so happy to be there. And Milner came, Joan, whoever passed by Peter tried to involve in our conversation too, always telling people about my research and asking their opinion. The only person I really wanted to be there too, Moylan, didn't pass by. A pity, but one of the most utopian moments in the whole trip.

We ended up with my promise I would go home, organize all the ideas they had given me into a kind of proposal or chapter description. I did so, and sent them (but by the time I wrote this none had answered yet).

So there was one more session I could attend. I had preselected one about biopolitics or biotechnology and the discourses of utopia. It was very interesting to see things from a different perspective not only literature or theory but more practical questions like food (the GMOs), medicine and the body. These are all topics that critical utopia try to cope with.

It was really cold outside, about 4ºC or 5ºC. People were going out to have dinner and some invited me but I had already set an appointment with Dale. It was too early, though, I had to wait for one hour more or less. I found a plug and turned on my computer. I had had some ideas for the interview with Marge Piercy, so I improved the questions I had already written.

When I realized it was time for me to go, I turned off the computer, went downstairs and as I got to the lobby of the hotel, Dale was entering one of the revolving doors. What a timing!

We walked around looking for a drugstore first but some were already closed. I needed to buy something for my sore throat and to prevent it from turning into a cold. We found one and I got some medical supplies for the bus trip as well as some cookies and all.

We went to a very cozy restaurant near the hotel. I was not sure whether I was going to have a meal or a sandwich, so we both started with soups and then I chose a sandwich. Dale also chose a sandwich and he became friends with our server, who was from the Phillipines as he had guessed by her accent. It was so funny to see them talking and she showing the pictures of the kids. (my half-eaten burger and half of Dale's sandwich as well)

Then we went to the bus station. It was still early but it would be the best thing to do in such cold weather. We sat and started talking about the sketchy people who were there. The thing I most liked about Dale and that I was not expecting was the way he observed everything that was happening around him. He knew who would draw my attention, we commented on hair, outfit and attitude. It was so nice to talk to him about the details around us. And after making fun of some of people on the station and talking about some other things, we said goodbyes and he left. I started reading a bit and when it was 11h10 I saw a line forming outside. I was afraid of not going there and missing a seat on the bus (they were not marked) but I knew how cold it would be. Anyway, I went outside and got in line. At midnight, the bus left and I had sat in one window seat and there was nobody with me. A mother with her two kids came in and, as there were no pair seats available anymore, she asked the guy sitting in front of me if he could sit somewhere else. He relunctantly started to move, slowly, and I said, hey, sit here and gave my seat to her and the kids and sat with a guy who was sitting across the aisle. 

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