Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Pre-Conference Jitters

Currently Reading: THE DEAD CAT BOUNCE by Sarah Graves Okay, I'm going to admit that I'm a little nervous about going to Atlanta for the RWA conference. Not because I wish I had a nicer wardrobe, or because I'll be meeting with my editors for the first time after a very tough and sadly unproductive year. Not because, in spite of my best intentions, I didn't lose the weight I promised myself I'd lose when I left Reno last year. No, I'm nervous because of the humidity. I live in Utah, second dryest state in the Union (according to something I read somewhere) which means that almost everywhere in this country is more humid than what I'm used to. Humidity is a foreign concept to me, and it's not something I deal with well. My hair frizzes and curls, my makeup runs, and I sweat. I wish I could say that I perspire delicately, but that would be a lie. Lucky me, I inherited my father's sweat glands. That means that ladylike, delicate perspiration simply isn't in my vocabulary. I've tried telling myself that I "glisten," but I'm still not convinced. My only hope, when I go to conferences around the country, is that the hotel staff has turned the thermostat down so low that the rest of you are donning sweaters to keep yourselves comfortable. If you're all shivering, you can count that I'm feeling delightfully content. I'll probably be okay as long as I don't leave the conference hotel, but what about evenings and dinners out? Crowded rooms? Publisher parties????? What about walking through the Atlanta heat to get from one place to another???? Sweating and running makeup aren't the only problems. For those of us who live in places where water is an import and the air is delightfully thin, thanks to high altitudes, all that moist, heavy, oxygen-filled air is almost painful to breathe! Frankly, I don't know how the rest of you do it on a regular basis. It sounds like I'm complaining, doesn't it? I don't mean to be. Like I said, almost every place in the country is more humid than I'm used to, so it's not like I've never dealth with humidity before. Once, years ago, I went to Lake Placid, NY for a legal conference. While those of us from Utah were hiking to the lodge struggling to breathe and complaining about the humidity, a group of southerners came up behind us, complaining about how dry the air was. I still giggle when I think about one woman saying, "I swear, my skin is just flaking away!" A few years later, I went to New Orleans for the same conference, and learned what humidity really was. Even Orlando, heavy as the air was, couldn't match the humidity in New Orleans. The point is, that even though I can dredge up uncomfortable memories from each of those experiences, what I choose to remember most of the time are the good things. I remember meeting great new friends over margaritas at the Mexican restaurant in Dallas, nipping away from the conference in Orlando to visit Disneyworld with my daughters and hitting Splash Mountain when there was no line because a tiny little rainstorm scared everybody indoors. I remember wandering around Bourbon Street in New Orleans, being sketched by a street artist, watching my daughter (then about 11) being fascinated by the break dancers performing on the street, and savoring the history in that beautiful city. I remember the scenery on the way to Lake Placid, being awed by the Olympic ski jumps, and making my first visit to Quebec. I think about standing in the middle of Times Square in New York, walking beside the ocean in San Diego. I think about dinners and drinks with friends, about chance meetings on elevators and catching up with people I only see once a year. There's so much good, it far outweighs the bad. So I'll deal with my humidity phobia today, and then do my best to forget about it so I can build new memories that will make me smile any time I think about Atlanta.

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