So I'm back with absolutely nothing enlightening to say.
Or do I???
Annual Conference is the most frustrating and most rewarding most-of-a-week I have every year. It is frustrating because of the amount of 0 interactivity that is involved. Come on. I'm a web geek and RPG computer gamer. I don't like the complete lack of interactivity. I know that the stories and progress reports are signature feature of the conference experience. But there is so much sitting and listening that I lose all sense of reality.
But AC is also the most rewarding because we there is interactivity, it is usually lively conversation about pressing topics with good friends and colleagues. I've seen conferences where factionalism reigned supreme. I have seen people eye each other with skepticism and a lack of charity. But I try to avoid those circles of interaction. Instead I look for chances where people of differing opinion and world view can sit down and really express their opinions with respect for one another and listen to the differing viewpoints.
No I won't change my mind because we talked about a given subject. But the next time we do meet, I will have a deeper respect for you.
But then there is also time for conversations that contribute in no meaningful way to anything healthy or uplifting whatsoever. And only true friends can handle that kind of conversation.