Thursday, October 19, 2006
What, No Free Samples?
I'm way up in the middle of nowhere (though, to be accurate, I think I'm actually more in the fringes of nowhere), at a conference on substance abuse treatment. You can imagine my dismay at the lack of free samples. Woe is me.

A couple observations:
1. The Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services should not be using the word "diagnosement." It just sounds stupid.

2. I should bring my knitting into the keynote session of any conference I ever attend ever again. I was so unbearably jealous of L., the woman from my work who brought hers. Maybe someday I'll be that brave.

3. We all recognize that addiction is a bad thing, blah blah blah... and so in most of the seminars, they were very careful not to even jokingly extoll the virtues of various mind-altering chemicals and so on. Yet at the same time, three out of the five seminars I attended let out at least five minutes early for the explicit reason of allowing people to have their smoke break before the next one started. Aren't arbitrary designations GREAT?

4. Only at a conference involving mental health clinicians do you have a seminar that involves watching someone else breathe for three full minutes. On purpose. Because the group leader told you to.

5. It can be a challenge, during such an exercise, not to stare directly at your breathing partner's breasts. Even if they're perfectly nice ones, you're mindful of not wanting to subconsciously damage her integrity. Or something. Hang out at these things long enough and you end up self-conscious about everything.

6. The shoulder is a good alternative focal point at such times.

7. It's not fun to be the biggest girl in the group. I wasn't the biggest girl at the whole conference, so it wasn't irredeemably horrible, but it was still awkward. For me. No one else seemed to have an issue with it. Story of my post-baby life.

8. At large gatherings, it's best to show up early for buffet meals and late for sit-down served meals.

9. Everyone drinks coffee.

10. I am susceptible to peer pressure. Such that, though I don't drink coffee, I filled a paper coffee cup with cranberry juice and put its lid on to carry that around and blend in.

11. Watching TV with other people is fun.

12. Murphy beds are not especially comfortable.

13. When your migraine medication contains both barbiturates and caffeine, it will make you drowsy and narcoleptic at home or at work, whenever you want to stay awake. But at night in a hotel far from your family and home, it will make you wide awake and anxious with a heart rate double what you're used to.

14. There are lots of free things handed out at conferences. Mostly pens and chocolate. But no samples of teh substances in question. Just in case you were wondering.

15. I cannot travel for work and be happy.