On Attending My First Conference

Last Friday I was off to Sydney to attend my first-ever conference. Few of my friends have corporate jobs (mostly teaching, nursing, trades etc - real skill and caring needed, two things I will never have) and so they were under the impression that attending a conference was somehow glamorous or at least exciting. You're probably way ahead of me on this - it's not. For a start, read the phrase "business travel" carefully. Also, few of the world's corporate high-flyers travel to conferences on CityRail (but how else was I going to get there, really? I wanted to get the XPT, but there wasn't one at a suitable time. At least the company paid for my train fare).

So it was in slightly less than a chirpy mood that I arrived, and did the rounds of meet and greet. There was also a major concern to my mind - our company's Sydney offices are located in the Australian HQ building of a major American company, with the logo prominently displayed, in the centre of the CBD. Call me paranoid, but sometimes I can't help worrying about terrorism. On top of that, although it suprises alot of people to know it, I can actually be very shy sometimes and having to make endless small talk, in a business environment and under management scrutiny, was very difficult for me. (And, she reports bitterly, there weren't even any sandwiches).

I won't bore you further with the details of the conference itself. You can get the drift of it from any Dilbert book, or just imagine fifty bored admins slumped in chairs hearing "Core changes to customer focus...drone, drone...paradigm reorganisations of strategic alliances drone, drone..." Suffice to say that by the end of it, I don't think hearing the words, "You've won $15 million on Lotto!", would have been as welcome as, "Okay, we're finishing an hour early today..." I could barely restrain myself from pumping my fist in the air. It meant that I got a chance to do some shopping. I immediately headed to Lush, as I badly needed some Fresh Farmacy. It's the only thing that has ever worked on my alternately dry and oily, and always ugly and red, skin. It's so good that I was planning a trip to Sydney solely to get some; now I won't have to. After that, I tried buying other stuff, but I felt so self-concious in my business attire - like I said, I'm more at home in an amusing t-shirt and stripy socks and carrying a tattered backpack - that I went home.

And I have had enough of trains for a while!

Sunday I headed along to town to see the much-vaunted Market St Markets...which are supposed to "revive" the Newcastle CBD. Now, few people could wish this to happen more than myself, but I just don't know if these markets are the thing to do it. I found them pretty standard market garb, and there weren't many stalls. Certainly nothing I'd consider worth making a trip to town for, and I enjoy both markets and trips to town. I fear that the Newcastle Alliance may have to think of something else.

We finished off the weekend with a cleansing ale at the Brewery. Much talk and laughter.

Finally, I've made the decsion to grow my hair long again. It seems to have stopped falling out, and is getting quite thick again, so I should be able to manage it. Long hair just suits my clothes and my general style more, and I found it was actually easier to look after - just tie it back, rather than having to worry about washing and styling it every day (I washed my long hair as often as it needed it, in case you're thinking I'm a soap dodger. But it did need washing less). Also - and all my own research has found this, even though they may initially deny it - most guys do seem to rather prefer women with long hair. I realise that this is a sweeping generalisation, but there it is. At any rate, these days I need any advantage I can get.

Anyway, what they hell? If I don't like it, I can always cut it again. Even if I am doomed to spend the next few months looking very, very shaggy as it grows out. Must resist temptation!

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