I leave tomorrow for the biggest conference of the year in my field. Between 20,000-25,000 of my colleagues will gather in San Fran to talk about science, make connections…and drink. Now, I’ve been going to this shin-dig for about 10 years and I’ve seen the good, bad and ugly of both the conference and “after conference” scene. You meet up with old friends…for beers. You have discussions with potential future colleagues about collaborations…over beers. You meet up to chat with senior scientists…at the wine bar. I’m a HUGE fan of the informal, relaxed way that business is conducted in my field (even the conference serves free microbrews for 2 hours every day), but I’m starting to fully appreciate how hard it must be for recovering alcoholics to function in a world where EVERY social event revolves around alcohol. Add to that the fact that this event is 5 days long, starts at 8 AM every day and I can’t have caffeine either – FML. I keep telling myself that the lack of hangover and a good nights sleep will make the need for caffeine irrelevant. Who am I kidding? 8 AM is 8 AM and the cold bright light of morning is way stabbier on the eyeballs when you’re uncaffeinated.
My husband got very indignant the other day when I told him that I envied that he could walk away from “it”. Of course he took “it” to mean me and when I explained that I meant infertility he was still annoyed because he thought I was implying that he didn’t think about it or worry about it. What he doesn’t realize is that I’m with “it” all day long. “It” influences every aspect of my life from where I go (riding my bike waaaaaaaay out of my to avoid fumes from the major roads), to what I do (giving up time with my husband or friends for yoga or accupuncture or doctors appointments) to what I eat (all the supplements, wheat grass, smoothies, blueberries, kale, no sugar, no soda, no caffeine, no alcohol and on and on). Those are a few measly examples, but truly, trying to improve my fertility influences my choices all day long, every day.
So, me and “it” are off to SF in the morning. I’ll sit with “it” at the wine bar. Me and “it” will hang out with old friends (and of course they’ll ask why I’m not drinking, which means I either have to lie or be uncomfortably vague since no one wants to have the “I can’t have babies” talk at a bar). And “it” and I will go home early together while everyone else is out having fun, making connections and…drinking. **Side note – I promise I’m not an alcoholic despite the way this post sounds. S and I have a glass of wine with dinner 2 or 3 nights a week, and I have a few margaritas on girls night. But SF during AGU is the time and place to get hammered, assuming there is ever a time and place** I just know that I’m gonna end up like this (and no one likes sober cat)———->