I leave for my first library conference of 2007 early tomorrow morning. Right now I’m doing 10,000 things at once. The dog was dropped off this afternoon for boarding (so the house feels empty right now and I feel guilty and miss her terribly). My bike has gone in for some much needed service (street riding is hard on bikes and I need new shifters). I’m trying to do some cleaning because no one likes to come home to dirty dishes. And I’m packing.
I HATE packing for conferences. Really. Trying to pack for any eventuality when attending a conference is, I’m convinced, impossible.
Let’s start with shoes. You walk everywhere, so your shoes have to be comfortable, yet they still have to match “business casual” attire. This means no sneakers because that went out with the 80s and, lets face it, dress pants with sneakers is a really unattractive look (Stacy and Clinton would have a coronary). So choosing my shoes is not easy, because orthopedic footwear is just so, well, so not my thing. I like shoes, cute shoes. One might say I love shoes. But not shoes that involve velcro, or make me look like I’m 90 years old from the ankle down. So it’s a very difficult balance between shoes you can walk a city in and shoes that are still attractive. And even if they are your most comfortable shoes ever, you will probably still get blisters. So pack those band-aids.
As for the clothes themselves, you end up wearing the same thing for 12+ hours, with no chance to change, so it better be comfortable, and it better be able to go from day-long-meetings-in-uncomfortable-chairs-wear into networking-at-the-vendor-receptions-evening-wear. And you’re hauling a large bag of stuff around (paperwork, papers to read, agendas, notes, computer, the all important snacks, etc.) so you clothes can’t wrinkle too easily or you end up looking like you’ve just rolled out of bed by the time you get to your first meeting, which is always at 8am. Oh, and dark colors are recommended to hide the stain when you spill your coffee trying to balance note taking with holding/drinking the necessary coffee in the aforementioned uncomfortable chairs (there are NO tables, ever). Remember, you then have to wear the now stained and coffee smelling clothes for another 10+ hours.
Have I convinced you that it’s impossible to pack for conferences yet? You’d think it would get easier with each passing conference but I don’t think it ever does. Sigh…time to evaluate my clothing choices for the umpteenth-thousand time before zipping up the suitcase and heading off to bed.