Tuesday, November 22, 2005

SBL Tuesday: On the Way Home

On the way home now from SBL, with a hiccup on the way (I've seen "hiccough"; is that American sp?). Half of the plane at Philadelphia airport seems to be full of Duke faculty and graduate students hoping to return to Raleigh Durham. As the plane taxi-ed off, there was a loud and not very healthy sounding vibrating buzz, apparently the air conditioning malfunctioning. We returned to the terminal and there was an inspection and after half an hour or so, just as I was drifting into a pleasant sleep while reflecting on Dale Allison's Resurrection book, and then an annoucement that we were all to get off and that there would be another plane for us. So we are now sitting at another gate, awaiting our new plane.

I usually seem to encounter some sort of big delay on the way back from the SBL and it's a great comfort this time to be travelling just within America. I am not going to have any flight connection to rush for, nor the chance of getting stranded away from home for the night. I am desperate to get home by the end of the SBL. It's not that I don't love the meeting, and especially spending time with old friends; it is just that I've had enough of it by the end and I really want to see my family again. I reckon that there are a lot of people who feel the same way; why else do so many people escape on the Tuesday morning? The last morning always feels like a damp squib to me, even if there is a good session on. And no one likes to have their session timetabled for the Tuesday morning.

And the really great thing for me this year is that not only will I not have the missed night's sleep that you always get when travelling from the USA to the UK, but also I have a holiday to go back to instead of work. It's always been a bit grim travelling as a Brit, in the past, back from the SBL and feeling the buzz of excitement among Americans who are heading home or to relatives for their Thanksgiving break. So instead of getting back on Wednesday morning, having lost a night's sleep and going straight in to teach, it's a case of going home, meeting the kids from school as they begin their Thanksgiving break, and having a break myself until next week. Gosh, no wonder Americans are always in such a good mood when they depart from SBL.

I am writing this on Tuesday morning from the airport, but I won't upload it until I'm back home. Unfortunately, the wireless internet from the airport here, as from Raleigh Durham International Airport too, costs a mint. Spending a little time at the airport did give me a second chance to get a Philly Cheese Steak. Perhaps a bit odd for breakfast, but I've eaten too much scrambled egg over the last few days, and not enough Philly Cheese Steaks. They are quite good, and the one here was better than the one I had yesterday.

Later note: I have arrived home and it's great to be back; but with some very good memories of a happy and successful SBL meeting. I have a couple more posts to go, including the rest of my Monday diary, and some general reflections, but they are only half written so will have to wait for a little.

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