Some days I’ll consult the hotel’s itinerary and try out other people’s conferences. Recently, I attended the Printing and Mailing Conference. They had “dimensional packaging sessions,” and forums on why LinkedIn is important. Though I have a profile on there I still don’t know why LinkedIn is important. I should have paid more attention, but I was still grasping how printing and mailing people had their own conference. Tyler, the organizer of the gathering said that there is an association for everything. “There is even an association for associations, and I’m a member of that.”
Hours later I was still in enough shock from hearing about the association for associations to tell the printing and mailing attendee who rode the elevator with me about it. He replied that he has a colleague in Detroit who attends three-day long barcode conferences. Barcode conferences! Ahh!
Unable to fathom how boring that might be, I sat at the desk on the lobby’s landing and clacked a few words into my typewriter, “In the elevator I heard…” but I stopped typing because a couple climbed up the stairs to smile at me. I smiled back and they told me, “We are supposed to know you.” They didn’t look like anyone I know. “Do you know a Gina?” I do know a Gina and described which one (as there are many Ginas on this Earth), “I know the Gina who lives in Chicago and went to film school with my mom.” “She’s my sister,” says the woman who I then saw looked very much like Gina’s other sister, Kristen. Large, expressive round eyes. Delicate bones. The difference is that this sister of Gina’s spoke with a slight southern twang (and I am not talking about the south side of Milwaukee where Gina and her sisters all grew up), having now lived in Texas with her husband for many years.
“We are staying here for the junk mail conference,” said Gina’s brother-in-law, Gino, “and Gina told us to keep an eye out for you since you work here.”
Gino and Susan said that they might be in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, because they were just telling a reporter from that paper all about how China ships goods to America, and then fills their empty ships with America’s recycling paper to take back to China where they manufacture it into products. I was told that there is no trade involved, that China just takes the paper. I was also told that China takes our paper because they don’t have any of their own natural resources to harvest. Gina’s relatives tell me all this with great urgency, because I publish “the news” on the Pfister blog. As soon as they were done telling me of the Chinese paper transaction they disappeared.