As some of you are aware, I recently went to a conference. Those of you who are aware of my attendance at this conference are most likely thinking, “Another post about the damn conference???” Which is why I had to trick you into coming over here with an obscure title. Do NOT worry. This is the very, very last post about the conference… unless I think of another one later. But, I probably won’t.
The conference simultaneously terrified me and made me realize how little it takes to strip me out of my comfort zone and make me feel completely out of place. I had more in common with the homeless dude sitting outside of the train station than with any of the conference attendees. Granted, I don’t know why he chose to sit on the steps with all the broken glass on them. I’d like to think I would choose a more desirable location to sit if that was what I had planned for the day, but @lahikmajoe said I have a lot to learn about being homeless.
I spend a lot of time trying to pass myself off as normal; however, the guise is thin and easily dissolved. Walking into the conference ballroom for lunch and finding cards on each table denoting the required conversation topic horrified me. It is bad enough they expect me to make small talk with a bunch of people I don’t know while trying not to spill food on myself. They shouldn’t be able to tell me what to say.
Also, I am not going to get all enthusiastic about whatever the keynote speaker is talking about in order to sell his new book. I’m just not built that way. Surrounded by all of these serious people with their wholehearted eagerness, I constantly felt a strong urge to go somewhere and hide.
I felt really depressed for being like a fish out of water at this thing until I read through Jenny’s blogs looking for quotes I could use to make fun of it. In her post, “I shouldn’t be allowed to mix with real people,” she describes spending four hours hiding out in the men’s bathroom during a BlogHer party she was hosting. That is when I realized that real problem in this scenario was NOT my social ineptitude, but the fact that men’s bathroom at this particular location failed to provide an accommodating hiding place.
Due to the lack of men’s bathrooms available as hideout locations, I propose we install Anxiety Rooms for people with social incompetence and/or genuine anxiety disorders.
Don’t feel like having lunch today with a note card demanding you to discuss the Analysis of Community Marketing? Exhausted from cheerful people handing you business cards after PowerPoint presentations? Tired of burying yourself in cocktails so everyone around you will start making sense? Try our new Anxiety Room! It is quite comfortable and much similar to a men’s room without the urinals.
To make an unnecessarily long story less long... I survived. After a grueling three days, I gave the bum on the steps a commiserate nod, and boarded the train toward home. I would like to take a moment to thank my Twitter followers for keeping me company and putting up with the conference play-by-play. I appreciate you more than you know. And also, thanks to Jenny for reminding me that even though lunch table topics terrify me, I can still count myself in good company.
To close with the last part, what you’re drinking at Starbucks is not national security.