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October 23, 2010

Pull Up a Chair

Posted in: Pull Up a Chair

Alarm ClockOh, the vagaries of spending a week three time zones away!

My sleep was already interrupted at home… lately, my internal alarm clock at home has been waking me up at 4:30 or 5:00 every morning. I try to get back to sleep, but I am not always successful. While in Vegas, that translated into waking up at 2:30 or 3:00 every morning and, again, not always being successful at going back to sleep, though I got better at it toward the end of the week.

Still, we three all had a great time together! The conference went swimmingly and the hotel staff were all very attentive. We saw the Beatles Love Show at The Mirage and it was fabulous! It was a Cirque du Soleil production. I bought two souvenirs there for my 15-year-old grandson, who is a huge Beatles fan: a blue silk tie with a yellow submarine on it and a DVD with a documentary about the making of the show. I really hope there is some good Beatles footage on that DVD, since he is too young to have really seen much of them. Elsewhere, I bought some gifts for my daughter and son-in-law, and for Paul, including some chocolate, but nothing very extravagant.

It was a bit surreal for me… having to walk through a casino to get to a restaurant. The noise level and the cigarette smoke were enough to wish there were other options. No opportunities to tempt one to gamble must be overlooked in Vegas. And yet, I did not gamble. Any where. Not even at the airport. And then there were the very high-end stores, such as Chanel, Tiffany, Prada, Armani, Dior, Gucci, Fendi, Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent and on and on… I did not even walk into any of them. There was something so unseemly about the kind of money that people were spending when so many others are jobless, homeless, and wondering where their next meal might come from.

The attire was also something to contemplate. Mature women in evening gowns, younger ones in very short shorts and high-heeled platform shoes. An interesting place to people watch… at least for fashion. I’ve never seen a more diverse assortment of people anywhere than I saw in Vegas.

I’ve been helping my friend with this conference every year since 2002 and now we have a third person who will likely be a dependable regular. The conference attendees include MDs, EMTs, engineers, all of whom collaborate on research that may result in preventing injuries from car crashes. Many very smart people attend this conference every year, from both private industry and academia.

There were papers on mechanisms of injury and quite a few on vulnerable drivers, one on how various forms of sleep disturbance can affect one’s driving, not to mention one’s health, and a few this time on driving under the influence. I work this conference every year, because one of my sisters died many years ago in a highway accident, and my family was never the same afterward. They do important work and some of the legislation requiring booster seats for children has come from data released at this conference.

How do you cope when you travel several time zones away? It seems to me that traveling west is more difficult, since you must wake up earlier and then stay awake even later, and, so you end up burning the candle at both ends of the day. And, in my case, I woke at my usual east coast time, but translated into west coast time.

I wanted to log in last weekend, but $40 per hour for using the internet in the business center seemed a bit steep to me.


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