Tomorrow is my birthday and I will spend a big chunk of it on the train with some of my colleagues, going south on Amtrak to Union Station in Washington, D.C. It’s kind of like a road trip in a really long car with someone else driving. It’s also very easy transport, especially here in the northeast corridor, where trains are frequent, relatively inexpensive, and much more convenient than flights. Plus there are plugs so we can charge up the electronic stores that we are bringing with us to this conference – Kindle, cell phones, iPods, laptops/netbooks, etc. Actually, I have all of those but promise I won’t use them all at once.
I called Amtrak today to see if I could have Red Cap service to help me with my stuff getting on and off the train, as well as getting in FROM the train in DC, which is huge. I feel a little bit like a fraud since I’m not immobile, but on the other hand, my knee hurts a lot and the service is free, other than tips. I have a feeling I’ll really need it for the DC end of things, especially coming home. Walking and standing (which is worse than standing) for the length of the meeting will take their toll and I’ll be very happy for the help on the way home, which I do alone, since my colleagues and I are all coming home at different times.
Birthday dinner will be with some friends who served on a committee together in 1999. We liked each other so much we’ve had a reunion and this will be another, in the same town where we first celebrated. We’re going to a Spanish restaurant which promises to have excellent sangria. I don’t drink much but adore sangria – and it IS my birthday, so I’m planning on having a glass or two.
At this point in my career, much of the conference is about networking, committee work, and spending lots of time in the exhibit hall talking to vendors, as well as selected programs. It will be busy but there are social events thrown in to keep things balanced — a reception at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, followed by a reception at the Library of Congress, catching up with friends, a bloggers and tweeters get together, and, of course, karaoke night. I’ve never actually done karaoke but this could be very entertaining – and a nice break.
Stay out of trouble until I get back!