And They Don’t Sell Winter Boots in Georgia

Subtitle: “They would HAVE to hold this conference on the coldest weekend of the year!!!”

The above was overheard at this past weekend’s Georgia Thespian Festival. As a Canadian, and as someone currently wearing three layers inside my house because it’s so cold outside, I’m not sure we’re speaking of the same kind of cold. The title refers to me needing winter boots, and having a spare hour in Georgia, and being in an shopping bonanza area, and realizing that you can buy a flip flop but you can’t buy a boot. Oh well. If they don’t need boots, why would they sell them!!

This weekend started out wonderfully well and ended up in a mini hellhole. I say mini because I’m home and well and we could have ended up in a ditch and we didn’t.

We drove to the Georgia conference which initially was a great idea. It takes a day and a couple of hours from Toronto. Having a day where I have nothing to do but drive was actually very soothing. A mental health day from all the work that needs to be done. In fact I couldn’t think about work because if I did, I would have run off the road!

The conference was all right. Lots of people who were familiar with our plays, which is good. It’s nice to hear someone point out the scripts their school had done. I also did three workshops – one of which was amazing, one was good, and one just had me digging my fingernails into my palms so as not to yell at the students.

I know I would make a terrible teacher because I’m only effective teaching those who want to be there. At conferences, you met tons of students who love drama and love learning about drama, and they are incredibly fun. They make teaching fun. They’re so much fun they can make you want to run out and register for teachers college. Like right then and there you think you want to teach for the rest of your life. Luckily for me this feeling passes, often like gas.

This weekend I had a group of people in one workshop who did not want to be there. Didn’t care what I was talking about and couldn’t wait to leave. Now thankfully they all decided to get together and come to the same workshop. It’s like there was a club vote. “Let’s go be miserable in THAT workshop.” That’s fine by me, better that they move in groups rather than spread their funky behaviour around. All it takes is for one sulky teen and the next thing you know it’s like the plague.

Sulky faces everywhere.

There’s a choice to be made in this situation. You discipline or you ignore – depending on how disruptive they are. I mean, it is a workshop, it’s not class, and I never have to see them again. In this case, they weren’t disruptive at all, so I decided to forge on, trying not to let the sulk plague get me. What is gained by getting angry at them? And in the end, a student came up to me and wanted to know about my plays because he was a student director and was looking for something. So there you go. Some people are immune to the sulk plague.
The way home was a bit of a disaster with a snow storm that closed the highway, and then closed the secondary roads, and then put a ban on all travel of any kind. And I can’t say that the ban was unnecessary, right before we threw in the towel and decided to stop all I could see was the red tail lights of the car in front of me. That’s it. All white in all directions, and two tail lights.

We were stuck in Irving NY and thought we’d have to spend the night in a gas station parking lot. But the town’s volunteer fire department came around, organized a convoy of stranded passengers behind a snow plow and took us to the fire department hall. They fed us and provided cots and had the instant information of when the roads were open again.

We saw many accidents and many cars in the ditch (including one who spun out right in front of us and a transport on its side) and thankfully we were able to make it home safe and sound. And we don’t have another conference for two whole weeks!! Whoo-hoo!

About the author

Lindsay Price