Saturday, September 12, 2015

Pre-Conference Memories

The ACFW Conference is coming up soon, and I know everyone's scurrying to get ready. Billy and I won't be going this year, but just knowing about it made me reminiscent of the first time I went. It was September, 2010, and I was a nervous wreck . . .

Time is getting closer for our flight to the conference, and eclectic thoughts are the best I can do. If we're in luck this may turn out to be a cohesive post, but don't get your hopes up.
As the hours count down, I'm steadily checking things off my list--make that lists. I have list upon list--what to pack for me, what to pack for him, what to pack for the plane; what to tell our house sitters. To do lists: get hair cut and primp some, refill meds, stop the paper, pre-check the baggage and print the tickets, water the plants. Conference lists: what I'm doing when and with whom. The "with whom" is part of a-whole-nother list. I have breakfast, lunch, and supper engagements with folks I've only seen in pictures, so I've made a list of all their names along with where I met them and put their pics beside their names. (Chris said he felt a bit like a stalker doing this . . . yep. But it'll be fun to recognize him and everyone else on sight.)
I have a list of promises I've made to folks who won't be able to come as well as a list of reminders of things to do for folks who weren't going in the first place.
Good thing I live in a forest and grow my own paper.
To say that I'm a bit nervous is to say an elephant is a bit big. While I'm looking forward to the conference and realize  the connections I'll make this weekend certainly won't hurt my career, I'm uncomfortable in crowds. Yes, it's true. I do have a shy streak--not much of one, I admit, but it's there. And it's in covering that streak that I often wind up with my foot in my mouth. When folks say, "Put your best foot forward," that's usually the one hanging from my jaws. My toes will be sporting a pretty shade on the nails, but no one will ever know because they'll be planted between my teeth.
Of course, on occasion, the confident me appears--the one who gave a successful speech to the Longview writers group a few weeks back, the one slightly reminiscent of Jessica Fletcher. I like that side of me, that lady, though I can no more summon her up at will than a leopard can change his spots on a whim. But I can ball my fists behind my back to make my hands stop shaking and fake it until she shows up.
And that's usually when the other foot finds its way to my lips. I get overly confident, or go overboard faking it, and the next thing you know I don't have a leg to stand on and land on my ample bottom because, after all, how can anyone stand with both feet in her mouth?
Okay, breathe.
I'll be fine. It'll be great. And if I do end up with a foot sandwich, big deal! That'll be one less meal I have to pay for, right?

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