I allowed myself a clear day in Lexington before the convention-proper started so that I could recover from the journey and find my way round a bit. I am really glad I did because I was in no fit state to speak English, never mind Latin this morning. I ate more pizza (yes the same one as yesterday) for breakfast and looked happily out on the rain-drenched lawn below my window, letting the aircon lull me into the illusion that it would be cool outside too. I can’t bear the heat and have been dreading having to cope with it. So, after a morning dozing and writing up yesterday’s events, I ventured out, lost in thought, walking embarrassingly and painfully into a full-height glass window on the way (oops!). As the friendly lady in the lift down from my room had warned me, the impression I had of coolness outside was decievin’ too! It was very hot and humid and I had to scurry from tree to tree to spend as much time as possible in the shade. I was out hunting for food as I was beginning to find the pizza a little too familiar and the on-campus outlets are mostly closed on Sunday.
On my voyage of fast-food discovery, I came across another US innovation, a ‘Cat’s Path’. I saw a few of them signposted and marked out with huge blue paw-prints. ‘But, what sort of cat?’, I wondered. After developing a couple of imaginative, but daft theories, I finally discovered that they were paths with blue lampposts with emergency buttons on them, and they were patrolled by police. I still don’t know why the paths are named ‘Cat’s Paths’, but google found me this: A Clear Path for Campus Safety. Perhaps it is not as safe here as it seems.
Eventually, I dived into the welcome, near-freezing temperature of a McDonald’s, where, after all that heat, I could only manage to eat an ice cream and drink an iced chocolate frappe. Feeling cooler, I headed back to the campus where I had heard there would be a cafeteria open at 4:30. I made my way there only to find an enormous crowd of cheer leaders at a Summer Camp had had the same idea. I waltzed in with them and was offered a nice salad and some lovely coffee, among other goodies. No one asked me for any payment and I began to feel a bit uncomfortable accepting all this largess. On asking one of the cafeteria staff, it transpired that I had in fact been mistaken as one of the camp, whose food was included in their fees. What part I might play in a Summer Camp for cheer leaders is a mystery to me, but I explained that I was actually here to speak Latin, paid up, and slunk off back to my room with my haul! I polished off my friend, the Papa John’s pizza, for supper.
Tomorrow will be a huge day for my research with me trying to do as many interviews and to administer as many pre-conventiculum reading exercises as possible with any volunteers I can find. And I will be eating mostly anything at all but pizza …