I think I may be overcompensating. I arrived in Washington DC for the FIGT conference yesterday evening, and in the ensuing 20 hours, I have sucked down two lemon drop martinis and a couple of seriously strong margaritas, slept like the dead for 8 hours, then bought one tablecloth, two umbrellas (one of which I have already lost), two gifts for the offspring back home, and 5lbs of grapes, 36 brownie bites, and 24 cinnamon rolls to bribe anyone who comes near.
This is in addition to the two suitcases, an antique typewriter and vintage Kodak phone that I have hauled 4000 miles to decorate a table which, if I’m honest, I only really hired so that I would have somewhere to sit if nobody spoke to me.
But the real indicator that I have descended into a mad state of panic came when I was handed my FIGT conference name badge. They have the lovely idea of attaching colored ribbons with gold lettering to designate the various participants – volunteer, attendee, international, speaker, board member, exhibitor,
wet behind the ears mad panicker first time attendee, etc.
I have four ribbons.
The good news is that based on my previous post where I mentioned feeling like the pound mutt at the pedigree show, they have convinced me that I am already a winner, and I have the ribbons to prove it.
Never having been a particularly accomplished sportswoman, they are the first ribbons I have ever received, and even after half an hour, I’m already becoming rather fond of them. And I don’t want to spoil the warm fuzzy glow of accomplishment. I want to spend the next three days hiding, before they realize that they have made a terrible mistake and demand their ribbons back.
It’s just like relocating all over again. That sinking sensation when you leave all that is comfortable and safe behind, and launch into the unknown, quietly convinced that you will never feel that sense of belonging again. That you will never have anything to add to the conversation, if you ever work up the courage to speak. That you were wrong, and you need to go home.
But here’s the good news. Ordinarily, I would retire to my room and raid the minibar, but some farsighted person locked it before I arrived, so it had to be the main bar after all.
And there they are – a room full of people just like me, with smiles, welcomes and wonderful stories. And wine, and laughter, and above all, friendship.
I’m glad I came.