On the flight over, a family of three was seated in front of me. Actually, the father was assigned a seat a few rows up, so when the rightful occupant came down the aisle, he politely asked if they could switch so he could stay with his family. No dice. The woman specifically booked that seat so she could be across the aisle from her friend. The purpose? So they could pass People magazine back and forth, making catty comments on, for example, how quickly Britney Spears’ hair has grown (“Do you think it’s a wig?!”). The one bit of knowledge I acquired from this sterling journal of contemporary culture that is now ironically applicable to my own life is that apparently Paris Hilton’s jail cell measures 12′ x 15′.
By my reckoning, my own dorm room here at Pacific University measures about 10′ x 8′. Even counting the 1′ extension by the window and the 2′ extension by the door that makes for an uncovered closet space, that still makes my place of educational residence nearly half the square footage of Ms. Hilton’s place of incarceration.
Still, the simplicity and beautiful surroundings appeal to my monastic side (I did, after all, live in a seminary for nearly four years)–and there is an incredible moss-covered tree right outside my window. Plus, a space this size in the center of Paris (the city) would probably cost hundreds of euros per night–and you’d still have to go down the hall to the toilet.
Joking aside, I’m here for the workshops and lectures. We kick off our time before lunch with a bit of a general welcome, then go right into a craft talk by Marvin Bell. Not a bad way to spend a morning, indeed.