Conventions and Meetings

I am leaving tomorrow for our big annual meeting. This is my 12th year working this event. That number pretty much puts me at the grown ups table.

“What was your first Annual Meeting?” is a common question among our veterans.

I remember the question being posed to my friend Jeff in IT. “Charlotte” was his answer. I narrowed my eyes and looked at him. Then figured it out:

“Oh, you must mean Charlotte 2. Charlotte 1 was my first Meeting.” And I realized that I sound like one of those people. That require the acknowledgement of seven additional years of meetings for the maintenance of my own self-worth.

I have noticed that at some point, these meetings that only happen for one week out of the year, start to run together. And the old people will sit around and say something like, “I remember a really great steakhouse in the Hilton. That had to have been in Houston. No, it was Albuquerque. What year was that?”

And I have joined them. Here are a few more:

“That was the year the lady fell down the escalator and had to go to the ER. We learned a lot about ‘traffic control’ that night.”

“No, I don’t remember the keynote speaker, but I remember the prostitutes sneaking into the Convention Center. Marsha figured out they were wearing fake badges and threw them out herself!”

“Brad was coordinating security, but he had a family emergency. We asked Cody to step in and his first question was, ‘Do I get to carry a gun?’”

“So Don dragged us 10 blocks out of our way because he had to have a ‘Mothers sandwich’. Swore it was the best lunch in New Orleans, as we stood outside this dive, waiting in line. Dude was right!”

Not long ago my friend Rolland (whose first Meeting was when I was in Kindergarten) and I noted that some of the stories have become legend. In the “I’m not sure which part is actually true” way.

Getting a good story out of it is the entire point, I think. Except now that I have stories, what I really want is no surprises at all. And that’s how I really know I am getting old.

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