So I finally got my ass to some panels today--one quite good and one less so--and met with my editor. And continued to spend a significant amount of time at the Marriott bar, god bless it and its beautiful, raised-level centrality: perfect for seeing and being seen and catching everyone I wanted to catch.
I also noticed, for the first time, the numerous Purell and hand-wipe dispensers ranged around the conference site. I suppose I'm as germ-phobic as the next person--but these, combined with the generally dire mood of the conference (fewer publishers hawking their wares and desperately fewer jobs on offer), contributed to the feeling of impending apocalypse.
My meeting with my editor was fine; I wasn't prepared to pitch the monograph in any serious way, but since I was meeting with her about my edition anyway, and since she represents a publisher I'd be delighted to have publish my monograph, it seemed to make sense to mock up a few documents and run the project by her. She took my materials and asked smart questions, but said, more or less, what I'd have expected: sounds great, but we'd like to see the full manuscript. Still, it was a pleasurable interview and moved me that much closer to thinking of the book as done.
I also had dinner with close friends from grad school, caught up with colleagues and former colleagues, and spent quality time with my two best conference buddies, one of whom was immediately identified by a third party as my "conference husband." And it's true: Fritz and I aren't in touch much between conferences, but we work on similar stuff and we're on completely the same wavelength when it comes to matters academic and para-academic and academically-social.
And really: as hard as it is that academia tears us apart from our nearest friends and most simpatico colleagues, there's something fantastic about the friendships and collegial relationships that it does foster. There are plenty of professional friends whom I adore, but whom I'm not sure I'd love quite as devotedly if they were in my department, or city, or regular life; the occasionality of our meetings means such friendships are both intense. . . and not called upon to be something they're not.