Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Meeting

I'm pretending that I don't know one of the reasons that I'm procrastinating registering for the AMS meeting; secretly I'm hoping that if I wait long enough that it will be too late and that it will be impossible to go. It's not just nerves over my silly little 10-minute talk or running into people I know from college who are way more successful than I am. (Secret message: while, yes, Tara H. was two classes behind me, I never met her because she only took graduate classes, so she wouldn't count as someone I know.)

No, it's none of that. It's one small awkward social situation that I'm avoiding. You see, there's this guy who I very, very, very briefly dated about a zillion years ago, and with whom I've maintained a patchy friendship since then. He's a mathematician living in the same city as the conference, so he will be there. And I would be attending this conference in the company of someone who gets very, very, very jealous. Whose jealousy is one of the reasons that the friendship has been so patchy. ("Why are you emaling him?" or "Why is his number programmed into your cell phone?" or "What are you sending him?")

Which of course blows everything out of proportion and makes a big deal out of something that isn't. Really all I'd want to do is have a cup of coffee and catch up with someone who was a good friend and a good influence during grad school and not think about it at all. Instead I'll end up checking the program for special sessions in Topology ("Look, Cameron and Habiro are talking in Stavros' special session on Thursday morning, don't you want to go? Maybe you'll run into some of your coauthors.") and hope that I can find a time to secretly meet with him. (Might not be possible, as he is a social butterfly among mathematicians.)

Clearly something is wrong here if I am already mulling over secret plans for sneaking around to get coffee and chat about the mundane details of new jobs, new houses, and all that.