conference fees in general annoy me. i am required to pay name-your-university for the opportunity to speak for fifteen minutes. on some level i can understand — there are administrative costs that need to be covered. but i was just registering for a conference scheduled for this coming october and realized that, in addition to my $40 conference fee (which is a special discounted rate because i’m a student and i belong to the organization sponsoring the event), i have to pay SEVENTY FREAKIN DOLLARS MORE if i want to attend the two speaker luncheons. thirty-five dollars each for two meals that will most likely consist of cold chicken a la king, a limp vegetable medley, and a slice of lemon meringue pie that was obviously very recently in a frozen state. and i would be forced to eat this meal during a speaker who, while most likely interesting, will be secretly annoyed that her audience appears before her like a herd of cows, attempting to chew as quietly as possible but damned determined not to let a lecture on gender and royalty to interrupt their THIRTY-FIVE DOLLAR MEAL.
i have decided, along with my fellow rice students, to skip the luncheon lectures, grab a burger, and check out denver during lunch. we could take a tour of the budweiser brewery. or go see buffalo bill’s grave. or go see red rocks amphitheater. when i return with an “i saw buffalo bill’s bones” tee-shirt, all of those conference-goers who shelled out SEVENTY DOLLARS to attend a meal that only offers water or iced tea (because all hotels, regardless of geography, seem to resist all other beverages during such luncheons) will be extremely jealous of my denver experience. i predict the following conversation between me and a fellow conference-ite. i will be played by rachel mcadams a la mean girls, casting that reflects the killer wit i would develop in such a situation. my fellow conference-ite will be played by ben stein.
Ben Stein: where did you get your stylish buffalo bill tee?
Rachel as Me: i visited the exciting and educational buffalo bill gravesite.
BS: when did you have time for such an adventure?
RaM: while you were sitting in an uncomfortable and most likely ugly hotel ballroom chair eating your chicken a la king.
BS: oh woe is me.
RaM: tomorrow i will be touring the budweiser brewery. i will return with plush budweiser frogs and a toasty buzz that will carry me through boring afternoon lectures.
BS: please take me with you.
RaM: fat chance. i don’t associate with people who spend SEVENTY DOLLARS on bad hotel food.
BS: bueller… bueller…