Friday, October 25, 2013

the conference

There was this idea of creating or zeroing in on a fabulous meeting place.  It was the season of and for conferences.  People in our industry have developed a handful of time-honored traditions.

Conferences are when people gather their bodies together in a pre-determined geographical location to engage in some sort of structured and hopefully enjoyable form of activity.  Let it be known, here at the outset, that we are the sort of standard everyday people who have always appreciated activity and look to incorporate as much of it into our daily lives as our schedules can possibly bear.  Sometimes we even say the phrase "three cheers for activity" while making breakfast, texting, tending to the old and infirm, looking out the window, and listening to the morning news simultaneously.

There was this place nobody had heard of.  We were suspicious, hesitant, unimpressed, lackadaisical, nervous; not even necessarily wanting or requesting more information at first.

Our industry lacked something.  Hard to say what that thing was.  Either exactly or generally.  Our industry suffered because of it, but nobody knew how to go about diagnosing the problem.

Hence the idea of a conference, and the need to zero in on a fabulous meeting place.  There's a song called 'The Meeting Place' by the pop band XTC and the lyrics go something like this: 

Meet you in the secret place
Scuffling in the dirt I wait
Whistle will blow, whistle will blow,
Share a joke the laugh's on me
But when I get you on your own we'll see
Someone might hear, someone might hear
You're a working girl now
You've got money of your own
Hmmm The meeting place
Hmmm The meeting place
Strolling under grimey skies
Machines that make you kiss in time
Smoke on your breath, smoke on your breath
Chimney never looked so good
Never looked the way it should
From lying in the bracken wood
Coat on the ground, coat on the ground
Take a walk down the lane
We'll be late back again
Hmmm The meeting place
Hmmm The meeting place

Do examples from the world of pop culture like this help you to understand our conundrum?  I wonder.  There was a retreat center in the mountains that nobody had heard of.  Based solely on the photographs, we started to request more information.  But our requests were not respected.  Not respected and not answered, in any way, shape, or form.  We stared down at the ground, stared off into the distance, stared at each other, at each other's computers, confused, and deeply deeply worried about the feasibility of staging this conference somewhere so remote and by all appearances, 100% off-the-grid.  We are an adventurous people, no question, but sometimes even the most adventurous need to know when to say when.