Sunset Boulevard and the eco-police
It is always, in a way, a mistake to go to a conference in the middle of term ... all the more so when that conference is on the other side of the planet. But when you say 'yes', it's months in advance, and you somehow fantasise that it will be a nice little break in a slightly warmer climate. At that point, you havent quite worked out that it will mean almost as many hours in a plane as you are at the conference.
So here I am again in Los Angeles, writing this at 5.00 am (and trying NOT to adjust to California time, made more difficult by the fact that all a cabin crew want you to do on a long flight is go to sleep: more booze, lights off, blinds down, heating up -- and you're out for the count).
But in this case the conference really WAS irresistible, because it is all connected with an exhibition at the Getty Villa on the modern legacy of Pompeii. I had had a bit to do with the early plans for the show, and if I didn't come now, I would miss it entirely. Besides I am not down to give a paper,but to "respond" at the end of the day. (In truth an ambiguous advantage: it means you dont have to write a paper, but it means that you have to stay awake and sharp -- so you have something worthwhile to say. No dropping off, Beard.)
And the truth is that, if I keep awake, I really shall enjoy the TexMex and the Margharitas tonight, seeing my friend Helen who's coming from Santa Barbara specially, and tasting a bit of Californian style.. even if for only a few hours. The hotel I'm in is already a good start -- "environmentally friendly" gone engagingly mad. I mean not just the usual (sensible) notice in the bathroom about using your towel more than once, but also a rather stern list on instructions left on the pillow about refilling your own reusable bottle of water from the tap, and turning off the lights when you are out of the room, etc.
All of this is absolutely right, and it's what I would do anyway ("turn the bloody lights off" having been drummed into me in the womb). But -- counter-suggestibility again --when I see the rules all written down and left on my pillow, even I start to feel like turning the aircon up to maximum, and going out for the day. Or even marking myself out as a self-confessed eco-criminal by prominently displaying the "Daily laundering requested" notice.
I bet if you did that, you'd find a leaflet on your pillow the next morning explaining the error of your ways!
(PS I have just found another notice in the bathroom, to assure me that if I I'm good and dont have mt sheets laundered each day, they will "air fluff" them instead... now what do you think that is?)