Over the years, I’ve done very little traveling for work. My first employer just required occasional day trips to other sites within the state. My current employer will generally cover one conference trip per year, but usually only if the employee is presenting. Between childcare logistics, a lack of non-proprietary work to present, and a general disinclination to be “on” amongst total strangers for days on end, I’ve managed to do only 3 trips in the last 14 years. But next week, I am heading to Cambridge, England for a week for an internal conference. Gulp.
My poster presentation is ready. I’ve bought an adapter so I can charge my phone. I’ve been a bit angsty about what appropriate attire would be — how do the British interpret “business casual” as designated in the plans — and also a bit dubious about an agenda schedule that seems to begin with activities at 8 a.m. without any mention of breakfast. We happened to have a multi-site video-conference at a divisional meeting this week, which included a recorded video clip from a different recent British gathering. Aha, I thought, I can see what they’re wearing!
Well, based on the video clip, people in Britain wear… blurry dark blobs. As for possible munchies, they do wander around the conference often holding small blurry blobs. But whether these are muffins or coffee cups or pet hamsters, I couldn’t tell. The trans-Atlantic video feeds leave a bit to be desired.
E and her mom and I went to a local thrift shop last weekend. (And yes, this was the highlight of the weekend. You can tell we have an empty nest.) I found a wool blazer in a sort of plaid/herringbone pattern, mostly dark blue with bits of black and gray, that fit perfectly except for being a few inches too long. It will go with my black or blue pants. It will go with my blue or beige or white shirts. It will keep me warm in rainy, chilly, England in October. And it should be the perfect item to make me look like a blurry dark blob. Score! I shortened it last night, and it turned out well.
And much as I dislike business travel in general, I am looking forward to meeting colleagues from the British site. I am also really hoping that, since the conference will be held at the University of Cambridge, I may be able to get over to King’s Chapel one evening to hear their Evensong service. I have mixed feelings about church music (a dozen formative years as a Quaker can do that), but King’s Chapel choir is in a category all its own.
I’m guessing a blurry dark blob of a wool blazer is appropriate attire for an Evensong service as well.