Today and tomorrow is a public policy conference put on by the university that is directly related to what I do working with political papers. We’re involved in the planning and execution, as well as I put together and man a show-and-tell type table exhibit about the relevant (and very, very large) senatorial collection. This is my biggest week of the year, and also the only two days a year I wear a suit to work. Actually, I did a TV thing a few months ago, so I’ll wear a suit and tie three days this year.
The exhibit is old hand, as I’ve brought out the same basic exhibit for six years now and tweaking certain details and materials selected to be as relevant as possible to the conference topics each year. This year I convinced the boss to bring out some new, and unique, memorabilia that has been popular, so that’s been nice.
The thing is that I’m an introvert by nature, and I work with papers and not people for a reason. In a room full of people I don’t know, my instinct is to hide in a corner and hope no one notices me. That obviously doesn’t work here, were I’m expected to be a representative of the university, educate folks on what we do in the archives and sometimes identify and/or solicit donors of both funds and collections for political papers. I’m told I do this well every year, but doing so is against every fiber of my nature. Also, attending the conference sessions is something of professional development for me. Between attending the sessions and manning the exhibit before/after/between sessions, it means I’m around people the entire day. I have to be socially “on” the entire time. For an introvert like me, I can think of no more exhausting way to spend a day. Unfortunately for you all, this rambling post is my way of unwinding tonight (the wine helped too, as there is a reception at the end of the day and I never pass up the opportunity for the university to buy me a drink).
Don’t get me wrong. The conference is a very good thing and I like it. Its just that it is also a two-day marathon of highlighting my social awkwardness.
While talking to folks this morning, an older fellow with a SAAB belt buckle stopped by. One doesn’t see a SAAB belt buckle and not ask the wearer about it, so I had to strike up a conversation. He turns out to be an old SCCA Pro Rally guy that said he helped start up Rally America. He’s now retired and involved with SCCA Roadrally in the area, and he is also friends with the faculty member that oversees the SAE Baja student team. By the time I was done talking to the guy, I think I’ve volunteered to help him scout some Roadrally routes in the area, and I might have made myself some type of a technical adviser to the university’s SAE Baja team. I was told there are a very large number of students involved in the various aspects of it, all overseen by the one engineering faculty member. It sounds like he needs some help providing adult supervision, particularly in the workshop. What I have done, Oppo?