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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

A Gator At A Sociological Convention In San Antonio, Texas

Just before I graduated with my master's degree from Ohio State University in 1985, I attended a dull and disappointing sociological conference in San Antonio, Texas. I could not afford to go to many conferences but a girlfriend who was also working on her master's degree shared the car and hotel costs with me. I had hoped to learn and develop professional contacts, what I encountered were lackluster presentations of the same-old-same-old topics and married colleagues who hoped for hugs and more while momentarily slipped from their wives' leashes into the crowded conference area. Ugh. There were few other women at the conference. One large, sweaty moron disguised as a graduate teaching associate grabbed and held me under the pretext of professional enthusiasm at something I had said. He would not release me until I shoved him away, "Let go of me." It was humiliating and discouraging. I could see the men exchanging contact information, and I knew that my studies and extensive experience at lecturing in large auditoriums put me in a highly respectable category but they did not see me that way. I made none of the valuable professional contacts so helpful in advancing in one's career at that conference, or any other conference I ever went to.

After a day's sessions my girlfriend and I were relaxing on the patio of our hotel, talking idly and gazing over the rough canal that adjoined the hotel. Then I spied slide marks going into the canal. I worried that something might have slipped in, so I walked a few yards down to the shore. I was pointing out the slide marks to my friend, who had lingered behind me, when I realized that this was an alligator slide. Apparently they are rare, but there are a few 8' alligators in the San Antonio waterways. Someone should have warned me! I had wondered why there were no wading birds in such lush habitat. My friend was excited when she captured the exact moment when I was pointing out the slide and realized what animal had made it. I was not so thrilled. I did appreciate getting this photograph from her years later.

I notice that my hair is permed in the photograph, and I recall that I was trying to blend in to the ethnically diverse Department of Sociology at Ohio State University.

My male colleagues at the sociological conference were not staying at our hotel, but they and the alligator may have seen me in the same way.

Caption: Annmarie Throckmorton found a gator slide

along a canal in San Antonio, Texas

but luckily the gator did not find Annmarie. 1985

Caption: Linda Dorsten and Annmarie Throckmorton

at sociological conference in San Antonio, Texas 1985

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