NASSR Day 1: London to Durham

4:45 am – After some cursory (and for me sleep-encrusted) chat about where I’m off to, the cabbie makes an ironic observation about the second amendment (the one about bearing arms): how the ingrained popular support for this purported constitutional safeguard against governmental tyranny represents its own kind of slavish obedience to government. (I’m paraphrasing.)

10:20 am – Did I go anywhere? My first impressions of Raleigh-Durham are of six-lane highways and dense mixed forests. This could be southwestern Ontario (give or take a month: everything’s much greener already than the recently unfurled foliage back home).

10:40 am – Okay, is the hotel next to Duke U ever posh, complete with bellhops who unpack the trunk, open the door for you, notify the desk of your arrival. (Um, was I supposed to tip for that? And should I, every time the door’s opened for me?) The concierge directs me to the conference and the forest trail. The grounds are aflutter with dun, thrush-like birds with white wing patches. Maybe cuckoos?

10:50 – I registered months ago but I’m not in the system. Another very professional-looking hand-written name badge for me, then. Now to peruse the NASSR program and see what the rest of the day brings.

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