Texas souvenirs

I came back from this year’s SXSW Interactive conference with a little something extra: some sort of bug that’s knocked me out of commission for the past day or two. But I’m not the only one who came home sick, and it’s comforting in a strange way to still feel like part of that community of exceptional people even now that I’m so far away, all of us sniffling and coughing together. (And every time I take a swig of NyQuil, I think of Rannie.)

When everything’s said and done and the hacking coughs have stopped, it’s the experiences from the conference that we’ll keep with us, time spent in the company of some pretty great people. It was energizing being surrounded by so many ideas and so much passion. Others have mentioned, though, that they might not have felt as connected as they would have liked, and I definitely experienced that at times.

The reason I’m writing this is, as much as anything else, to remind myself not to take opportunities like that for granted. I felt like I knew so many of the attendees after reading the parts of their lives they chose to share with the rest of us through their websites, but I didn’t introduce myself—maybe it was shyness, or maybe the opportunity just didn’t present itself. I know now that I might not get a second chance, a reality made painfully clear to me by the untimely demise of the Amazing Beard-o-Meter.

I felt like I knew that beard, having watched it grow day-by-day, week-by-week over the past several months. But I never let it know what it meant to me, and now it’s gone. There might be another beard next year, but it surely won’t be the same. Just being around the beard was somehow comforting, but now that it’s gone I wonder if I couldn’t have done more to let it know how I felt. To the rest of the SXSWi crowd, the people Cory Doctorow described as “my tribe,” I have a quick message: be careful around razors, and I hope to see you all again next year.

3 Responses to “Texas souvenirs”

  1. michaelbrown Says:

    The beard told me to tell you ‘hi’. Looks like it’s coming back from vacation early.

  2. Kevin Smokler Says:

    You certainly will, Mike. It was great to see you again.

  3. jon Says:

    This is a comment about your Iraq Body count link. Where is the publicity for the 1.5 million killed under Saddam’s reign. Where is their honor? Because if we don’t go in, those numbers rise faster than a 16 year olds pecker at a titty bar. 16, huh? Just 1,499,984 to go and we can call it unjustified. Thank goodness we aren’t counting the ones tortured, raped, or hung by their arms I guess.
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