Friday, November 9, 2007

No Atlanta For Me

I have a ticket to fly to Atlanta this weekend, to attend a meeting at the CDC. This is the government agency that gave me a grant for my dissertation, part of which was supposed to go towards traveling to this meeting to present my work, and meet with the 3 other grantees and lots of important CDC people. My friend Robin works at the CDC, so I had arranged to stay with her (and she had gotten time off to attend my talk!)

So, in preparation, I practiced my talk for my lab today. It went well, they are super supportive. However, almost immediately after I finished, I received a call from the coordinator.
"Um, your security clearance has not come through yet. You'll have to cancel your plane ticket."


"Because you're not a citizen, it takes longer to get clearance. I'm sorry, but Monday is a holiday and they probably won't be looking at this over the weekend" (probably? This is a government agency. Definitely is more like it). "Well, you have a couple of options - you can come in another time, or present via speakerphone."
I considered it for a bit, but, much like how I try to make even the surliest tech support person laugh while they're troubleshooting my laptop's Blue Screens of Death, it's important with me to connect with my audience. Especially with academic talks, since they're nervewracking enough as it is. It's nice to find the one person who is nodding and smiling at you (even if in their head their thinking, this it total BS) so you can make eye contact once in a while, for moral support. I just imagine them saying, Go on, you're doing a great job. Tell me more about your multitrait-multimethod matrix. It's so intriguing. Anyway, the thought of speaking into a phone, telling someone "next slide please" while the audience stares at an empty lectern just doesn't really do it for me. Plus, I wanted to network with people, see Robin, and hang out a bit. I guess I'll go another time, it just won't be as cool, and I'm out $100 for having to change the flight.

Wah. Darn my non-US citizenship. (Did I really say that? Oh, great Canadian maple leaf, I didn't mean it!)

Well, maybe we will have time for an OFT this weekend after all...


Amy said...

Are you sure it's the Canadian thing, or did they find something they're afraid to tell you! Josh just reminded me that we have a bjorn too. Granted it hasn't been updated in over a year, but maybe I'll start working on it. I'm afraid I will never be as good at keeping it up to date as you, though. Check out the one from the start of soccer, he is soooo small! (

Anonymous said...

that's so ridiculous! i'm so sorry about the change in plans. hopefully, a very special OFT took its place...
k.i.u.c. :)