Life, the Universe and Everything is a symposium that is held annually here in Utah. I went to the whole thing the first two years I was at BYU, and the past two years I’ve kind of flitted in and out, seeing a couple of panels. My student ID still hasn’t expired, so I decided to tread the ethically grey ground of still getting in free even though I’ve technically graduated. I didn’t have the money to pay for admission, and I wanted to do something for me that entailed getting out of the house.
I wasn’t sure I’d stay.
But I put Ruby in the Babyhawk and walked down to the Marriott where it is being held. It’s only about 9 blocks away from where I live, and I imagined that parking would be terrible (I was assured that it was). The walk was nice. I admired cute houses along the way. The area of Provo where I live is predominantly made up of houses that are these little cottages from the 40s to the 60s. How well they’ve been maintained varies greatly, but each house is unique and has its own personality. I love looking at the houses in Provo and imagining what I’d do if I owned each house. I’d get rid of that terrible shade of green paint, I’d replace that wood paneling that’s rotting out. I’d love that patio. As I approached the Marriott, I decided that it was worth it just for the walk. I registered, and went to a couple of panels.
All of the LTUE information this year was strewn with their child policy. I’m not sure if this was new this year, or if I’ve just never needed to know it before. Basically, they don’t want kids there, but they’ll allow babies under 18 months so long as they’re quiet. I completely understand not wanting ill behaved children ruining panels, but it made me really self conscious about having Ruby there. I don’t want to be That Person who won’t leave when their baby is being a nuisance, but I also would like to hear some of the panels. I ended up sitting in the back of all the panels I went to, and stepping out early from a few of them when Ruby started fussing. I probably could have stayed, she wasn’t really crying or being that bad, but it made me anxious so I just left.
After I stepped out early from the third panel I went to, I decided that I should probably just go home. I sat down in an available chair to give Kyle a call, and a middle aged gentleman next to me ended up turning to me and asking about Ruby. We chatted, and eventually I let him hold her, and we sat there for the better part of an hour just talking about kids and families. He was a panelist, but I’d never heard of him or read his work before, and I was too shy to talk about writing. He gave me some advice about parenting, and, well, it was just really nice. It was nice to talk to somebody about kids and feel like it was ok that Ruby was there with me.
At this point, I had also decided not to leave before I said hi to a woman that was there whose blog I follow and whose writing I admire. Introducing myself to strangers always scares me, but I’d commented a few times on her blog and she’d responded, so I felt like it wouldn’t be too awkward to just go and say hello. So I went, introduced myself, and we had a really nice conversation. And in the course of this conversation, I found out that she also reads my blog and has been for some time. I was totally floored, and it made me feel fantastic. In the course of an hour, I had gone from not really having the best time to having had two really great conversations (with strangers, no less) that completely turned my day around. I ended up being really glad that I had found the courage to talk to these people.
I stuck around for the last panel I wanted to hear, and I was able to stay for the entire thing. When Ruby fussed a little bit, instead of ducking out I just rocked her to sleep and nobody seemed bothered at all that she was a little fussy. It’s amazing what a little confidence can do.
I’m very pleased that I went today. It was something of a whim, but I was able to hear some good panels and hear some advice that was very relevant to me and my creative goals. I have a couple ideas for small changes that I can make in my life that will result in my having more time for both my writing and my sewing.
Kyle picked me up afterwards, and I came home to a clean house. He knows how to make me feel very loved. Amy babysat Ruby and we went out to eat to celebrate Valentine’s day.
And now I am going to continue to eat Sweet Tart conversation hearts until they make me sick. Like I do every Valentine’s Day. It’s…not the healthiest Valentine’s tradition, but it’s what I’ve got. And I love those little conversation hearts.