Or, this post could have been called an ethnography of evacuating sociologists.
So over at Scatterplot they are live blogging the ASA (american sociological association) meeting in Boston. I am here in Boston and the 5th floor of the Sheraton Boston had a fire alarm TWICE in the middle of the night. The first time it went on and then off and I called the desk – false alarm. The second time (3:45 a.m.) we had to evacuate. So we did. Being a good evacuator, I left in a hurry and forgot my room key so when we were allowed back in, I had to go to the front desk to have a new key made. While I stood there chatting with James who was unlucky enough to pull the front desk overnight shift no fewer than THREE sociologists came to yell at James (as James said, “It’s like they think I pulled the alarm.”)
Sociological observations about these interactions:
1. All three yellers were white men.
2. All three yellers thought it was OK to walk straight up to the counter and begin their diatribe while James and I were clearly engaged in business (it wasn’t). To the point that I firmly stated back at one of them, “I’d like to get my room key so I can go back to bed and THEN you may have your turn.”
3. None were satisfied by the following arguments made by James — (a) the law requires that the fire department come and that we evacuate you if the alarm is tripped and we must comply with the law (b) the evacuation is for your safety (c) the hotel is investigating why the alarm went off
4. All three yellers though it was OK to yell at the poor guy standing in a suit at the front desk at 4 in the morning (it is not).
1. Most sociologists get dressed before they evacuate (Darling Son and I were in our jammies).
2. James was very calm.
3. I am sleepy today