I, too, went to a Huge National Conference this month. And it's the last day of the month, so let's think about those HNC mysteries and try to answer a question or two.
What surprised me:
1. That guy I saw just last year (or two years ago?) seems much older. Does everybody think I look older, too?
2. Big, non-academic, for-profit companies seem to be sending more of their employees to the HNC. ("Wow, Facebook really paid that employee to come here? Cool.") Not a huge number, but it still seems like more than in the past.
3. I can't believe so many people still crowd, like lemmings, into those huge conference halls to listen to boring presentations. Huge numbers of people with no real opportunity for Q&A.
4. Those women who wear high heels. How? Why?
5. More than once, I couldn't remember which town I was in. All convention centers seem to look the same. Life goes by so quickly. I wish convention centers would do something to distinguish themselves--like the Atlanta airport did with its white rocking chairs. I'd like to be able to anchor the experience a little better in time and space.
6. Oddly enough, there seemed to be less desperation than I expected. Which reminds me: I wonder how Darla's job search is going. If I saw her at the HNC, then she certainly didn't seem desperate. Maybe my radar wasn't working very well. Or maybe the people who really, desperately needed another job or a promotion couldn't afford to go to the HNC.
7. My school paid for my entire trip (or, rather, will reimburse me next month). Why? I didn't do anything except maybe avoid embarrassing the school.
Q. What surprised you about your HNC?
A. Dammit, be honest.