Heading Out

Seeking the winds that help to sail on Shakespeare's tide.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Oh, my aching back, or the joys of Co-Chairing at a Conference

So here we are, desperately trying to find seats for those wanting to get into the morning session, while the organizers dash off to print another two dozen sets of notes on the papers. And we succeed, and it's lunch-time and there is a chance for a few minutes breather, and the hotel liaison comes over. As co-chair would I mind coming and helping with one of the conferees, who has passed out in the bar and banged his head, and who is being taken off to hospital by the paramedics. (This is lunch). So I go and we do the "what is your name," "what is the day" (in French) and he seems not to be concussed, but off they take him, in brace and stretcher to a local hospital.

So I return for my own lunch - and get asked to talk to one of the session chairs of the afternoon. Their team (due to set up a booth this afternoon) are stranded in Denver, can I chair his session, while he builds the booth alone. (I grab a passing grad student I had brought and we give partial assistance until I have to go get the afternoon rolling). We have to rewrite the paper the other grad student is giving (don't ask). The session this morning was 20 minutes late after the first speaker, and after we had re-arranged all the rest of the day to handle this, the last speaker of the morning gave what was planned to be an hour review in 20 minutes. (Which got the hotels staff mad because we had asked them to put lunch back, and there everyone was grousing that they were late). One of the afternoon sessions ran out of oomph an hour early, and this was the one I had to go back into and chair and bring back to enthusiasm.

Catch a breath for ten minutes and down to the exhibition hall, where I was going to rest and chat at the booth we had, for the first time. agreed to put on. Three and a half hours later I realize we should have done this years ago, since we were so busy, but it is amusing that - from the other side - one can see those who consider themselves the Conference Royalty. Yes, a different perspective.

The company paying for the hosting rights must be having a very good year, the drinks of wine were water glasses that were comfortably filled. Ah, only two more days and then home. Somewhere I should have kept notes on all those folk I promised to talk to in the next two days - but I did not. So all I have left to do is review the papers for the session I have to chair in the morning . . . . .zzzzzzzz!


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