Tonight I experienced something amazing: the whole reason why I come to these conventions. For many people, the conventions are about conducting ACB business. I tried playing the political schmoozing game, and every so often I still try sticking my nose into the debates. But I learn over and over again that it isn't where I belong. I get my little feelings hurt when someone decides I've talked too much or doesn't recognize me even though I talked first because their favorite person can talk louder, etc. I don't like heated discussions, and I don't see any reason why people can't grow up and have a civilized discussion even when they disagree. To me it's all about avoiding loaded language and being willing to listen to the other person, trusting that we'll get a chance to be heard. Of course, most people are terrified of not being heard; and that is the reason why they interrupt and insult each other, and discussion never really is fulfilling. So I learn that my place is not in politics. My place is in writing, where people can pick up a book or an article and read it if they want to hear what I have to say or put it down if they don't care to listen and I don't have to get hurt. Maybe that's a cop-out. I happen to think it is a creative solution.
So why do I come to convention? Part of the reason is to talk to people informally. I wouldn't call it socializing, though socializing sometimes happens. Socializing, to me, is what people are doing when they play games or do small talk, etc. Some do it by drinking, and unfortunately there is quite a bit of drinking irresponsibility that occurs at these things. But what I often do here is good deep discussions in small groups over dinner or coffee or the air in the suite. I would have to pay thousands of dollars to arrange such things otherwise, and I can do it all for under $1,000 this week.
The other reason I come to convention is for the networking and informational opportunities. So far I have not had this result in open doors professionally for me, but I'm open to the possibility that it could. Nothing like that could happen if I wasn't in the right place at the right time. I've see it work for other people.
One of the attractions this year for me was a forum with the Treasury Department on accessible currency. It happened that the time was misprinted and I missed it. I was not happy at all about this.
I've written in the past about being annoyed about people stopping at my table over dinner and wanting to pet my dog... Well, here I don't really have to worry about that--there are four hundred dogs around, so no one really needs to interrupt my conversation. So I found it rather amusing when a couple of people came up to the table and did just that.
They were inviting my table to a smaller focus group! How could I get so lucky? Being in the right place at the right time. If I attend nothing else this week, my trip was just paid for.