Last week was quite a hectic week at my annual lighting conference. (So, what else is new?) Unfortunately, the red-eye flight back to the Midwest late Thursday night completely wiped me out. (Am I really getting THAT old?) I got back to my apartment just before noon and I was out cold until about 2 a.m. Saturday morning. Let's just say that the rest of Saturday was more of the same.
Traveling for conferences is the same ol' thing with me, although I did try to do some of my Mindfulness thinking on the plane. (Try being the key word here.) When I got to the hotel, I was almost at the front of the line when I heard the cracking and smacking of a guy popping his chewing gum behind me. Let's just say that taking a deep breath and holding it for a count of five doesn't work too well when you're inhaling the air from a casino floor. (BLEAH!!!) When I finally made it up to my room (which didn't happen until a couple of hours later because this particular hotel charges a $10 fee for checking in before 3 p.m.), I tried again to decompress with some breathing exercises while lying on my bed... That is, until housekeeping opened my door and THEN said "housekeeping," which totally caught me off guard. (The housekeeping guy complained that I didn't put the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door, to which I pointed out that my room did not have a Do Not Disturb sign. Duh!)
Later that evening, I enjoyed a relaxing drink with a mentor/colleague at the top of the Stratosphere (for which he designed the interior renovations). I'm telling you, the view of the lights across the city, all the way to the mountains, really touched this lighting designer's heart. I finally was able to relax after a LONG day of typical traveling triggers.
Tuesday I went to the conference and walked the exhibition floor a bit. (Talk about glare bombs! It's amazing how many manufacturers think the way to impress lighting designers with their new LED products is to blind them! Kinda hard to design lighting if you can't see anymore. LOL! It was great bumping into colleagues, some of whom I hadn't seen in YEARS.
Later that afternoon, I sat in back-to-back presentations: the first was a keynote speech by Senator Gephardt, who talked about the benefits of lighting for our well-being, followed by two panel sessions, one on healthcare issues related to lighting, the other relating to hospitality lighting design issues. I tried to be proactive by sitting at a table directly in front of the speakers, but unfortunately... although I picked the "perfect" seat that faced forward, there were gentlemen on either side of me that were closer to the stage, and therefore in my peripheral vision. One wouldn't stop clicking/tapping his pen, the other wouldn't stop typing on his cell phone. (Whether he was texting or writing emails, I couldn't say.) I tried visually blocking the triggers with my hair and holding my hands up (like I was resting my head on my hands, elbows on the table)... I must've looked ridiculous. In the end, I also wound up having to put earplugs in because two people at a table to the side were having a conversation on top of the presentations. I so wanted to walk over and ask them to take their conversation outside, but I didn't. I just closed my eyes, took a couple of deep breaths, and tried to focus on the presentation again.
The rest of the conference was just rush, rush, rush... Going to seminars, leading a national committee meeting (I was just made chair), meeting with companies, checking out the (blinding) products... I actually looked forward to the ends of the days, when I could just stretch out on my bed and relax. (Normally, I'd try to take a couple of hours to enjoy at a spa or at a show, but there wasn't any time on this trip. Looking forward to the next visit back to Vegas though.)
I did have an interesting experience on one of the plane legs back. It was the first time in a while that I was flying coach again, so the crampedness of the seats was especially uncomfortable. The plane was packed like a sardine and although I was in a window seat, leaning away from the arm rest, the arm of the guy next to me was hanging over my seat, so the hair on his arm kept brushing against my arm. (I can't stand when my own hair falls and lands on my arm, let alone somebody else's arm that keeps brushing against mine.)Normally when that happens to me, I put a magazine between my arm and the other person's. For some reason, the constant pressure of a flat, hard surface is less annoying than the light brush of hair against my arm, but given the incident I had on a metro bus back in DC, I tapped the guy on the shoulder and said that I didn't want him to be offended by my putting the magazine between us, but I have a medical condition that makes me super sensitive to certain tactile feelings. He looked at me and said he wasn't offended. In fact, he was very nice about the whole thing. (What a relief! I don't know what I would have done if I pissed him off. They overbooked the flight so there was no where else for me to go.) Hopefully, next time I travel I can save up enough to fly first class again. Those seats are AWESOME, especiall! :-)