My First In-Person Conference Since COVID: Thoughts And Observations

Last Updated on: 24th May 2022, 01:31 pm

Like I said, I went to my first in-person conference, and the experience was pretty nice. It was awesome to enjoy things like food and mingling with other attendees. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do about masks, so I usually kept it on unless I absolutely had to take it off, like while eating and presenting and stuff. That led to an embarrassing moment.

The keynote was Temple Grandin. I was nervous about presenting at the conference, but when I found out she was the keynote, I got very excited. When we got there, the person I was walking with said “Hey, Temple Grandin is right in front of you. Wanna say hi?” and I turned into a stammering dork, just like old times. Immediately she went, “Hey, wanna get a picture?” I managed to stammer out a “Sure!” and *snap*, *snap*, it happened…

Carin in a mask next to Temple Grandin
Say “Oops…”

An unmasked Temple Grandin standing next to Carin...who is still in a mask
Look at me still standing there with my mask on. Duh.

at which point I realized I was still wearing my mask. Gaaaa! So, clearly you can see her there, but you’ll have to imagine it’s me behind that KN95. Apparently you can still see that I’m grinning like a goofball. I guess it’s a sign of the times. I’ll always remember this was 2022.

I even made that embarrassing moment into a 2 for 1. I said hello, but I didn’t put out my hand to shake, because I have worked so hard to remember not to offer my hand because any time I do, people get all weird. But this time, she did stick out her hand, and someone had to tell me , “Um, she wants to shake your hand.” Ah crap! I see a lot of this in my future.

One weird thing kept happening at the conference and I wonder if anyone else has noticed stuff like this. Admittedly, this conference only had 3 sessions, but in the two sessions that I was not presenting, and at the beginning of mine, there was a lot of side chatter going on while the presenter was presenting. Seriously. Someone was speaking in front of a room, and people were talking among themselves. Had they forgotten that this isn’t Zoom and they’re not on mute? Did they miss human interaction so much that they couldn’t help themselves? I don’t think I have lost touch with how conferences used to be, but I have to wonder, since the two people who I asked about this didn’t seem to notice. It was just a weird experience. I guess I won’t be sure until I’ve attended a few conferences, but it was odd.

But over all, things went well, I got at least one positive piece of feedback, and so far I haven’t died, so I guess it was a success.

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