I spent this weekend at a conference on sexuality and the law at Harvard, which was actually the first time that I've been back to Cambridge since the beginning of 2009. (And that was January, when it is less pleasant to walk around and marvel at things because I'm prone to frostbite and wiping out on brick sidewalks, and more fun to hide in cafes with your favorite people.)
What was particularly weird was that I felt like I knew more people in Boston this time around than I did the past two times, possibly because a whole bunch of them are prodigal children who left for a couple of years and then decided it was high time to go rack up another degree. I hopped a bus to South Station on Friday and raced to campus for the luncheon kicking off the conference, where I promptly ran into a dozen colleagues, one of my favorite professors from college, and Lee's former roommate before actually putting a fork to my mouth. This got even weirder by the final dinner, when I ran into one of the other writers for the progressive monthly I wrote for in college and a friend of mine from Oxford, who is German but apparently doing a fellowship at Harvard all year and prone to crashing free dinners when the opportunity arises.
The whole conference was great, partially because the presenters were all academic or activist rockstars, and partially because being away from a university setting this year has made me swoon any time someone sticks a panel in front of me and tells them to talk about something sexual. Without fail. It also let out early enough that I was able to go back to Lowell to grab dinner with some of the tutors I really liked, to go to a dinner party with some of my favorite people from the activist circles in undergrad, and to run around on Sunday catching up with Leana, Mischa, Devery, and other besties from back in the day. (I also got to swing by Darwin's and Hi-Rise, but not Diesel, continuing the trend of confusing cafes I love with people I love and treating them somewhat equivalently when deciding how to spend my time.)
And then I hopped a bus with one of my coworkers back to Boston, and was promptly dumped in the middle of the chaos in Times Square in which four people were shot on Easter. I was like, "my, it's rowdy for a Sunday" and kept on listening to NPR podcasts in what was apparently intermittent gang violence. New York has its exciting parts, too.