Gainesville Ramblings

This is a blog, and thus it barely qualifies as writing, let alone formal writing, so I'd not let it bother you.

Monday, November 20, 2006

National Convention Memories

This is where I would usually write "What few of them I have," but as this was the least drunk National Convention I've been to (for me personally at least), I remember almost all of what transpired. Any misrememberences or misinterpretations is most likely due to my notoriously faulty memory. So here we go.

- I'm very happy I decided to fly to DC. That extra night of sleep I got probably saved my life in the coming days.

- I'm also very happy I flew because it gave me a chance to meet Mike, Huda-Marie, and Leah. I met them randomly: I was waiting outside the baggage claim area of the airport for the hotel's shuttle to pick me up when I noticed three other college age kids waiting. I took the chance that they were Phi Siggers and asked them. They replied in the affirmative, and basically for the rest of the day, we hung out. We went to the mall, got dinner/lunch, and kept ourselves occupied until the festivities all began.

One thing these three soon discovered was that one thing all Florida Fans like to do is make fun of Ron Zook (who, according to Everyday Should Be Saturday, should only be referred to as [Name Redacted]). They, and especially Mike, were very good natured about it, and for that I am thankful. They were a fun crew, and I'm hoping they make it down to GET SLAM'D, as I'm probably not going to be able to make it to Illinois any time soon.

- Friday night, I wish I had been able to stay up longer, but I physically could not keep my eyes open. Of course, as soon as I laid down, I got a phone call on the room phone. "Hello?" I said groggily.
"Is this Mr. McKenzie?"
"Yes..."
"Mr. McKenzie, we've had another noise complaint for this room."
At this point, I looked around the room. It was dark, it was quiet, and I was the only one in there. "Are you sure?," I asked, "Cause its pretty quiet from where I'm trying to sleep."
"I understand that your with that fraternity we have staying here, but we do have other guests, so if you could try to keep it down..."
"Alright, I will try to keep it down. All of me and the turned off television."

- Later that night, everyone was trying to go to sleep. 'Trying' being the operative word, as there were four people trying to sleep in one bed. Between Mark, Rachel, Kelly and James, no one was going to sleep in that room. And between Mark being drunk and belligerent, Kelly arguing with him, and Rachel laughing uncontrollably, it was anything but quiet. One memorable quote, at least that I remember in my exhausted haze, was this:

Mark (to Kelly): You are a crazy lesbian.

Kelly (to Mark): You love the cock.

Me to both: Can we reach a compromise here: You're both gay.

I know, I'm fucking hilarious.

- The next morning, I woke up early (well, I got up early. I'm pretty sure I didn't really sleep much that night). Rachel got up too, and we decided we would do the touristy thing. We recruited Jeff and Kelly, and off we went. On the agenda: FDR Memorial (a really lovely public space, though as a memorial, it was a bit overdone), the WWII memorial (probably the best public space in the city, but I'm not sure it really is all that evocative of the war), and the Jefferson Memorial (a truly magnificent place. Quiet and awe inspiring).

- Me and Rachel decided to take a look at the Holocaust Museum, while Kelly and Jeff checked out the Air and Space Museum. It was emotionally draining, and I found myself tearing up a few times. Especially poignant to me was the tower of photos from a small Jewish town in Poland before it was completely decimated by the Nazis.

- There was one room, full of shoes that had been taken from the victims. I'm stood there, trying to absorb the immensity of what I'm seeing, when a guy next to me looks over and sees that my vest has "University of Florida" written on it.

"Dude," he said, "Do you go to the University of Florida?"

"Um, yeah, I did," I replied.

"Dude, that’s awesome, me too!" he said way too loudly.

I just stared at him in disbelief. I then said, "This is not the right place or time to be doing this." Then, I walked away, occasionally looking back at the guy. He stood there, stunned, like he didn't know what just happened.

- Next stop: The Zoo. I became slightly deaf earlier in the day when I told Kelly and Rachel that they had a baby panda. The screams of delight were quite loud and piercing. I do have to admit though that the pandas were damn cute, especially as the baby kept jumping on his mother, trying to get her to play.

- Back on the Metro, back to the hotel. I had promised to meet up with a bunch of brothers and go to a sports bar and watch the Ohio State/Michigan game. I got to the hotel way late, so I think everyone had already left. So Rachel, Jeff, Kelly and I got in a cab and went to the Sports Bar I found, called Bailey's. Unfortunately, it was packed. And even more unfortunate: It was 21+ to get in, which meant Kelly and Rachel were not allowed in. Luckily it was in a mall, and there were other restaurants where we could watch the game. We found Chevy's, a Mexican restaurant. It was nearly empty, had good sized screens showing the game, and we got to get Margaritas and Mexican food. In retrospect, we win.

- Gamma Ep (finally) won best in region. Yea for us. I don't know how we don't win that when Trav or Dani are President, but when I, a mediocre executive at best, was President, we win that award. Nationals is fucked up.

- That night was...weird. It was the lamest I've seen Convention. I don't know if it was just my inability to get drunk (trust me, I tried), or maybe because it was lame in general. But either way, I had fun, but not as much as I usually do. I was hoping the last Convention would be bigger and better, but it wasn't. Oh well. I'm still glad I went. Got to see people I haven't seen in a while, and I got to meet new fun people. All in all, a good trip and a good vacation.

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