Friday, July 11, 2008

Who's bright idea was it to send me to a conference, alone, a thousand miles away from home? I know no one and I am not exactly the most extroverted person around. For 3 days, I will get up early and shower as quietly as possible to avoid my roommate in the morning. (This helps her as well as me; I am not a morning person!) I will get to meals early so I can pick a table by myself, therefore forcing people to choose to sit at my table so that I don't have to figure out which people won't object to my presence. I will perhaps go to social hour, but undoubtedly will get a drink, sit by myself, and wait a reasonable amount of time before leaving. More than likely, I will skip social hour all together and go running.

It's not that I'm a shy person with no friends. I really am capable of striking up conversations with total strangers. I can certainly approach people in my hometown and talk to them there. But there is something about going to one of these conferences, where all of the other attendees seem to have known each other for years and don't seem particularly interested in embracing the newbies, that just leaves me feeling like a complete outsider with no one to talk to and no common interests. Even though a conference of people opposed to the death penalty ought to be my ultimate happy place.

Well, day one is down. Only 3 more days of total awkwardness and very little personal, human interaction.


Meryl said...

Erk. I know how you feel.

But if it helps, the first time I met you, I thought you must be the coolest person in the world...a perception that was only slightly altered by a certain evening of board games. ;)

S said...

well, maybe I'm not quite as horribly anti-social as I thought. Several people sat with me at breakfast yesterday, giving me people to sit with throughout the day and have drinks with during social hour. I still ate dinner, alone, though. That was my own choice so I could hurry and have time to go for a run.

Still, it's a little ridiculous that I still don't really feel like a member of this greater criminal defense community. These are supposed to be my people, so why do I insist on feeling like I don't fit in? I need to get over myself.

As for you, Meryl, I'm not sure I would bring up board games were I you. Let me just remind you of one word: alley...

Jeff said...

Good grief. This is embarrassing. I just read your post (I stumbled across the blog about a week ago.)

Wish I'd read it before Airlie. Indeed, wish I'd been more reaching-out friendly there, especially since I sat next to you a time or two.

We have several from our state (I actually didn't get listed in the attendee's list for some reason), but I remember my first couple of times there and I know what it's like to stand around by myself at the smokehouse and to eat dinner while everyone else at the table seems to know everyone else. And you just sit there.

I really am sorry. But I'm glad you attended and hope you got much out of it.

By the way, I'm the guy with the gray hair and mustache.

S said...

I really did get a lot out of the conference. And despite my severe aversion to asserting myself in social settings where I don't know anyone, I wound up being much more social than I thought I would be. And now, the next time I go to one of these conferences, I'll know some people. So it's all good.

But thanks for the comment.

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