So this weekend, I am presenting a paper I wrote at a conference in Galveston, Texas. When I originally submitted the paper, I did so with a cavalier attitude about Nico. I figured that by 11 weeks, that Nico would be able to chill at home with Dave for a weekend while I came to do my thing. But then it became abundantly clear that Nico is going to be a mama’s boy, and my quick little jaunt to Texas to do my thing turned into Nico’s first roadtrip- an 11.5 hour drive on I-10 across Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisana and Texas. Ike fully prepared me for the suckage factor- which turned out to be unnecessary because Nico was a champ on the drive. But, really, its hard not to be- I mean, literaly, who can resist the power of the interstate driving on sleep? I rest my case.
In any case, we got to town on Friday afternoon, just in time to check out some posters and hit up the business/awards meeting. I submitted my paper to the graduate student paper award competition, but really wasnt expecting to win (but you miss 100% of the shots you dont take, right?). I decided to bring Nico to the poster/awards/business meeting thing (and the later dinner), becuase its a kind of laid back atmosphere, and Dave needed to finish some work stuff when we got into town (I think I figured out the hippie wear your baby wrap thing)- so he was just chillin.
So they call up each of the people who submitted papers to the competition, to give us hard copies of our feedback. I was really uncomfortable with this because I hate people staring at me- even when I know its not because I have food on my face. Then, a weird thing happened. They announced that they decided not to give an award- because none of the papers met the requirements for the winning, which is that it be of “accepted with conditions” quality (side note” there are several outcomes for submitting papers to journals: accept (rare), accepted with conditions (usually that the author make some revisions), revise and resubmit (good ideas or good methods, interesting data, needs some work), and rejected (major problems with methodology, writing, ideas, theory, etc.) while I have come to terms with this rejection, it was still humiliating. Being told in public, in front of people you don’t know that you suck is just as enjoyable as it sounds.
I know that that not everything can be accepted all the time… and a lot of times when you fail at getting something, you actually gain a little by partaking in the process. That said, I think I can say with the authority of an expert, that public fails are way worse that private fails.
I can say this with authority, beccause I also got to experience a private fail a little bit later. I was walking from the dinner back to the host hotel and was trying to remember the way. I glanced up to see where I was in relation to where I wanted to be. And fell… hard. Apparentaly, since it was dark, I didnt even see the fact that the curb dropped off, until I fell. I was wearing Nico at this point, and crunched both my knees pretty good, along with an arm. Nico started crying, but mostly because it startled him, I think. Turns out his okay… Dave and I ended up taking him to an irish Pub for dinner. In one sense, I am glad that I was wearing him (and not holding him- I may have thrown him as I fell), but am fairly certain that I fell because I was wearing him (couldnt see the curb). Back and knees good and sore now. Now I am back at the hotel room re-working a table for my presentation.