#Rhizo14: Last Call at the Rhizo Bar & Grille. Six Pack to Go, Bar Keep!

icyfeb2014

It was an ice storm in Arlington, TX. I knew the shit had hit that morning as I watched the Weather Channel’s harbinger of extremity, Jim Cantore, on screen in Arlington, TX. Expletive deleted. Let me start over.

I was in Arlington for a MOOC conference. No brainer. Texas can be chilly in the winter but the odds were that I would draw that breathtaking, low 60’s, high bluebell Texas sky. I would beempty downing froufrou drinks and littering the table with paper umbrellas all the while smiling at the thought of my colleagues getting ready for finals week. Serves them right.

I got Mr. Weather Death instead on the TV screen describing the ongoing ice apocalypse. All day weather loomed more important than learning, but the hard core MOOCers remained. That evening clutching my grubby drinks ticket I made my way through an industry-sponsored buffet. I sat down not to exotic froufrou but beer and chicken and shrimp on a bone china plate . It was cold, inches of ice on the dark grounds of the Arlington Sheraton, and I could see through the glass the outside table I should have been sitting at.

I was a shocked from a truly rococo series of self-pitying reveries by someone sitting opposite me. It was Dave Cormier. Which is not to say that I knew Dave. I didn’t know anyone at the conference so why was Dave sitting opposite me? Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and an empty seat is just a place to sit.

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