Saturday, November 24, 2007

Helloise, the Hooter Parade and a Celebate Friar

One of my favorite colleagues is also someone I consider a good friend.

We were in San Diego presenting at the American Marketing Association's Symposium on Higher Education yearly conference. We had written a paper with several graduate and undergraduate students. The research was quite exciting. It was nice to work with students on a project to benefit the university.

Truth be told, I think saying that we were presenting at the American Marketing Association's Symposium on Higher Education yearly conference makes me sound quite intelligent and academic. I have made it!

Actually, the conference itself provided much information we will be able to use when we teach and help to implement marketing strategies and web initiatives. We are also thinking about the conference in Chicago next November. We plan to write another paper. Ideally, I would like to include other students. I find this to be a wonderful way to get students involved in research at a university not necessarily known for research. It is hands on and looks wonderful on their resumes. And we get to go to conferences and they get to present with us. Talk about an opportunity - presenting research findings and fielding questions from industry leaders.


The point of this post is not to go on and on about the benefits of research and how much we love our students, but to discuss the Hooter Parade.

When I arrived, Basil, my colleague, was to pick me up at the airport in our rental car.

He got carried away. His sense of whimsy overtook his reason and sense of obligation and he rented some two-door sports car that has no trunk whatsoever!

He called me while I was on my layover in Philly and told me that he couldn't pick me up. He did tell me that there was an airport shuttle to the hotel and that he would be waiting for me in the bar (if anyone in administration is reading this, we sipped Shirley Temples in the only place in the hotel serving drinks). I thought he was being lazy.

I arrived and was cranky because of the airplane ride (see previous post). I had to wait for my luggage (not long, San Diego is efficient as hell). Then I had to wait for the shuttle. I hate that smokers can smoke anywhere. They can't smoke on the planes so the minute they get outside, they light up. Everyone at the shuttle stop was smoking (or it smelled like it).

I checked in to the nicest hotel I have ever been in. I don't travel poshly. I stay at the Motel 6 because they leave the light on for me. I don't stay at Sheraton's. This was quite nice! Basil was waiting for me in the hotel lobby.

We drank, then I went to bed. That three hour time difference will kick your ass the first night.

The next morning we ate breakfast at the buffet (which is my favorite word next to wine).

Basil then told me that we have to drive around because it is simply too nice to sit around! The conference didn't start until the next day anyway! I wanted to go to Old Town San Diego because I had heard it was cool and I enjoy historic parts of any towns.

Basil did tell me that the night before (Saturday) he went to an old Franciscan mission outside San Diego. It turns out that the Franciscans founded missions in San Diego long before any other religion came in (including present Catholic contingents). I am always amazed and fascinated with religions, where they have come from, where and how they are represented, and what they mean. I guess the Franciscans are no longer at this mission. Thats okay. St. Francis is everywhere in San Diego!

He takes me to this car he rented and I am amazed! I truly thought he was being lazy. I had no idea that he serious. I don't think I have ever seen a car this tiny. It is a convertable, which is nice since it is warm out. We put the top down and set off.

It turns out, Basil is an old man. Not in age, but in manifestation. We have this sassy sports car and Basil is driving 50 mph on the highway. The speed limit is 65! WTF!

We also rent a GPS system. I am not familiar with GPS systems. This is the best invention ever! We have to punch in Old Town and Helloise (our name for our GPS system - Helloise rules) tells us exactly how to get there. She gets a bit surly when we miss a turn and she has to "recalculate," but that's okay. I am the only one who notices, but that's fine.

We get to Old Town and see a fabulous old church and dangerously cool cemetery. We turn onto one of the streets not suggested by Helloise and we see a van turning a corner. We also see many people on the sidewalk walking. I thought I saw Hooters written on the side of the van. I tell Basil to follow it.

How strange that I want to follow a van that may or may not read "hooters" when I am driving in a convertable with a celebate friar.

Sure enough, the van did read "hooters." It turns out we weren in some sort of breast cancer awareness parade. There were support vans and cars in front of us and behind us. We passed men in pink tutus, men in bras, dogs in bras, vans in bras. It was quite spectacular! We were driving through as if we belonged there. We hung out with the boobs for quit some time. Then we decided to head to Old Town to park.

We wondered why, in November, there would be a breast cancer parade since October is breast cancer awareness month. Then we thought perhaps it had something to do with the forest fires that were sweeping through the area in October. That's our only explanation since we didn't stop to ask anyone. People seemed to be having too much damn fun.

And I thought about how cool my CRV would be if I wrapped it in all my old bras.

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