Going into the opening reception for my conference, I was already exhausted, having left our house very early in the morning, met with an old teaching colleague, and then braved a major shopping area to do some shopping at Ikea and the Lego Store (first one was a necessity since we've been missing one caster we need to raise our TV cabinet, second was inevitable since it provided plenty of options for the 'surprise' Scooter expects).
I told Trillian that I would aim to stay for the first half of the two-hour reception. Since I'm staying a ways outside the city (for free!), I didn't want to push past my limits.
At the outset, I came upon someone I had met at a small conference last fall while getting some antipasti. We chatted a little, then she excused herself to get some more food--she'd been traveling all day. I sat down at one of the tables to eat my cheese and olives, trying to see if there was anyone else I knew--the program had not been very promising in that respect. The woman I had already spoken with joined me, and we talked for a good 30 minutes. At first about kids and being in safe, small towns. And then a really excellent conversation on an area of overlap in our interests, one that spoke directly to some issues I will have to tackle for my last paper before I start my dissertation (and will bleed into that as well).
During all of this, I saw a woman at a not-too-distant table who looked very familiar. I was tempted to go up and introduce myself, tell her I thought I knew her. And I was going to do this after my previous conversation ended, until I got a new perspective on the table. I saw the older woman sitting next to her and a man across the table, and the new context gave me the answer immediately: these were all people from University of 2nd-PhD-program-I-dropped-out-of. The older woman was a professor I'd had, and suddenly I didn't want to go up and introduce myself.
"Hey, remember me? You know, the one who spent a whole semester in your department before deciding she'd rather go do just about anything than stay?"
So I checked my watch, decided 50 minutes was close enough to an hour, and headed to the bathroom, conveniently located across from the elevators to parking.