Sunday, July 16, 2006

an example of how i plan ahead for academic conferences

Last year at the ASA meetings I encountered a fellow sociologist at a function who knew who I was but believed we had never met. I informed him that we had, in fact, met, sometime in the last couple years although I could not remember exactly where. I assured him I was absolutely, 100% sure of this, and that I had a clear memory, for example, of our talking briefly about blah-blah-blah. He seemed genuinely unsettled, as though he was convinced he would have remembered but instead somehow did not at all. I realized later that I'm mostly, 70% sure I had him confused with someone else with a little-bit-similar name who does a-little-bit-similar work. (What can I say? I'm not good with faces.)

I was reminded of this when I came across his name today in an unrelated context. But now I've decided that at the ASA meetings next month, I will go over and talk to him again. This time, though, I'm going to introduce myself and pretend like I have no recollection of our having ever met before, and I will be skeptical and perhaps even aggressively suspicious if he tries to suggest that we have. Maybe I'll start off with something like, "Finally! You're someone that I've wanted to meet for a long time." I should remember to practice it a few times on the drive to Montreal, so I'll be able to do it straight when the time comes.

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