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OAH Throw — Er, I Mean –Wrap-Up

March 29, 2009, 9:00 pm

The OAH is over, and Your Favorite Radical is in the Detroit Airport making use of a Boingo Hotspot (I love Boingo.) Historiann and I have so much in common, but now we have one more thing in common: we were both violently ill in Seattle. So, Mr. Gayprof, though we did not have your input for the world domination plot (your role will be revealed in due course) at least you did not catch our disease. Historiann initially believed that she would be forever remembered as Typhoid Historiann, since two people she ate with came down with this horrid disease. But after further research (she is an intrepid researcher), she discovered that many people came down with it, people who neither of us even know, much less eat with. She now suspects norovirus, a gastrointestinal disease that typical thrives in a closed environment. Like a cruise ship, or a history conference.

That’s why they call her Dr. Historiann.

Anyway, it caused me to miss nearly everything on Saturday, except a terrific state of the field panel on school desegregation. My memory on this is foggy but: are the numerous state of the field panels a new thing at the OAH? Because every one I went to was stellar, and if you paired it with another panel in which people were giving papers about new research (such as the Grassroots Conservatism panel and the State of the Field panel on conservatism that I paired on Friday morning), it was an altogether satisfying experience.

Unfortunately, after the school desegregation panel I began to get violent chills. On the way down the escalator, John D’Emilio waved to me as he rode in the opposite direction and called out: “Are you going to the queer history state of the field panel?” and I wanted to respond, “No, I’m going back to the hotel to cover up with as many blankets as I can find!” But that was too complicated, so I just said “No!”

I missed the Mary Ryan talk (can anyone else report on this?) at the women’s history lunch, and slept feverishly and fitfully until mid-afternoon, when I had to roust myself to go back to the convention center and cancel an appointment with an editor. On the way back, I stopped downstairs at a cafe to buy a Coke, the traditional remedy for routine stomach problems in Mexico, and got in line at the slowest cashier’s desk in the whole convention center. If you were at this conference, you know the one I mean. And if you were there when I was you really know the one I mean, because no sooner had I paid than it was clear to me that I was going to yerp immediately. In seconds. It’s a terrible feeling.

And with the instincts of a fighter pilot I made my decision. Three feet away I spotted a garbage can with a large hole in the side, just big enough for my head. You’ve got it: in front of what could only have been a horrified group of historians, I stuck my head in the trash can and was noisily, violently ill.

As I emerged from the comforting darkness of the waste bin, I said to the people around me, “I am so, so sorry.” I heard one person whisper, “Well, poor you.”

Indeed.

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