#SX is here.
Over 30,000 participants have arrived to immerse themselves in SX (South by Southwest). The annual celebration of what's new and different in film, music and interactive draws thousands of smart creative people to town to mingle with the thousands who live here.
Meeting so many new people is a lot of fun. The vast majority are happy to be here, in the moment and thus a pleasure to interact with.
The other day though I met a quartet whom I hoped returned post haste to the airport for their departing flights.
The group worked for the same firm albeit in different offices. Two Yanks, a Canadian and a Brit, they were commiserating their bad situation.
During a cocktail party.
The Brit complained about the non-stop stimulus praying out loud for just “ten seconds of silence!” After meeting him I was praying for ten minutes of silence as I figured it might take me that long to ditch him. Apparently he was not informed that “silence” isn't on the agenda for the largest interactive conference in the world.
My new Canadian contact longed mostly for another business trip so he could avoid the “screaming babies” at home. His peers murmured in supportive solidarity. I wondered if he knew how the screaming babies had gotten there?
One of the Americans bitched about the miserly upgrade policy of un-named firm (I protect companies and people on my blog) that prevented her from flying first class on those oh-so-many sojourns to Europe, those nitwits in Accounting not understanding the need to be in first!
Let me tell you, if your biggest concern is flying first instead of business your life may not be as tough as you think.
The last American – the least offensive of the four – primarily nodded assent to all either choosing not to complain out loud or perhaps struggling for a window to insert himself into the conversation the other three having so effectively and completely monopolized the airtime.
Thankfully some sushi arrived and the malcontent mob had their attention diverted as I made my escape.
Holy schneike I was glad to get away!
These posers were dripping in pretension: I actually felt slimy after having been exposed to them. But then I wondered over the next few days, do I do that?
I hope not. Even after being a veteran of the tech talent wars, a hardscrabble sales recruiter and a union shop ER manager I hope I maintain my sense of optimism, wonder and joy.
If you feel tired and worn from your non-stop job, frequent travel and late nights I appreciate that.
But I want to tell you something: pretension isn't pretty. How can you maintain a sense of enthusiasm as the days mount and the pressure continues? Try yoga, running, music, the arts, whatever works for you. Find an outlet and be kind to yourself.
Practice some self-love before your self-commentary turns to self-loathing.
#SX is a wonderful time: even with the traffic, packed restaurants and endless lines I embrace it. And I enjoy about 99% of the people I meet.
The other 1%?
They help me keep things in perspective.
Even they have value.