I arrived last night in Phoenix for the American Society for Theatre Research Conference, one I've often been told is a good one, both rigorous and collegial, but which I've never attended.
I generally like conferences, but I hate conferences where I know no one. I hate the lonely milling about while others cluster in twos and threes, reiginiting connections that go back to grad school or to conferences past. I hate the eating alone. I hate the gaps between sessions while others convivially share pastries and coffee. I hate the moment of nonrecognition after tag scanning happens (which reminds me, this conference is going the no-institutional-affiliation route, as a kind of egalitarian move, as if "New Haven, CT" doesn't speak volumes...Ugh).
I know, I've made conference buddies before, and I really enjoy that connection, but the milling about beforehand, that odd circling to look purposeful that reminds me of being dateless at middle school dances, that drives me nuts. We're in between sessions on lunch break right now. I'm going to grab a bagel and eat while reading a book.