Thursday, December 04, 2008

Tales from the Trip

If you've guessed what I do, then you know where I was. For anyone who is anything (or sells anything) congregated at a single location to show how very pretty we all are. Clad in suits - seas of black, interspersed with a few gentle waves of gray, brown or navy - we talked and listened, answered and asked, drank and, well, drank some more. I am exhausted and have many blog posts I'd like to view in my handy readers, so I'll post a few thoughts to jog my memory should I need to recall this particular experience.

I found myself excessively proud of my company at several points during the time I was away. From the people we employ to the products we produce, I think there is great focus toward quality and creativity. As I embraced people I know and met new colleagues, I felt part of something truly important and impressive.

Conversely, my heart ached with longing for my research past.

"Smarter!" I beamed while reaching for a member of my graduate research group. "How are you?" I breathed as I clung to him for a moment, feeling his scruffy beard against my temple and thinking him rather dashing.

"I stopped by earlier but you were busy," he noted and I found myself flattered. Smarter is not only quite attractive but also brilliant. I find myself mildly infatuated each time I encounter the man and enjoy the thrill while it lasts. So we chatted about work and new developments - how I liked Industry, how he'd already been promoted to Associate Professor (at 34. The man is ridiculous.), when we should get together for lunch or drinks. Few people could have distracted me from Smarter, frankly, but I caught sight of one of them and broke off mid-sentence to blink back tears as I hugged Boss tightly.

I introduced Smarter to my post-doctoral mentor, keeping my hand tucked through the latter's arm and feeling overwhelming affection mixed with nostalgia. The three of us talked and while I remained proud of my current affiliation, I thought of Smarter and Boss - their research and goals, teaching and service, and - just for a moment - wanted to chase after them after they'd hugged me good-bye and walked away, begging them to take me back with them.

"Sixteen meats," a man noted at the restaurant and I grinned up at him. I'd made some comment about how it was a bit overwhelming to have waiters swarm around the table with their Brazilian steakhouse offerings. A group of us nibbled at vegetables and delicacies from the salad bar then turned our little cards from red to green, prompting the display of more cooked animal flesh than I could handle. It was delicious - the beef and chicken and pork and lamb and more beef and more pork and still more beef - but I kept being distracted by the baskets on the table.

"What's in them?" BestWorkBuddy asked from her spot across the table. When someone replied that it was bread, I gave him a look of disbelief.

"Puffs of goodness," I replied firmly, breaking open the light, golden bit of some bread/pastry mixture. "It's like a cream puff without the cream."

"Hand me a puff of goodness," a different colleague - one of my favorites - ordered. He nodded his agreement of my assessment after tasting it and I pulled the basket protectively close to my plate. Luckily, the meat-givers were generous with the puffs of goodness as well. It was the multiple rum/lime/sugar drinks that may have come a bit too often, leaving me feeling a bit sick and headachey this morning.

It was good to go. It's better to be home.

(And we shall now return to our regularly scheduled posts and a count-down to post 1,000! For which I have nothing special planned, but I have a little over a week to think of something.)


Anonymous said...

Getting fucking wasted and eating burned dead animal kicks ass!

post-doc said...

Not burned - medium. Then the man to my left took medium rare and the woman to his right took rare. It worked out quite nicely. Well, until I got full and stuck with exclusively drinking. Then someone else had to have medium. And while I don't think I was wasted, I was mildly drunk.

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