Jackson (Hell) Hole
It's not what you think. There will be no cavorting or second honeymooning. I'm going to present a summary of three years of research done in fulfillment of a grant from a very generous foundation. They treat their grantees to a yearly "retreat" in a beautiful location. Last year we were in Aspen, Colorado.
Not exactly. It doesn't feel like a "retreat" when you're trying to persuade your hosts that the $300,000 they gave you was wisely spent. And the spirit of the event is one of "constructive development." Since we're a multidisciplinary crowd, what this means is that you present your ongoing research and each audience member subsequently demands to know why you aren't using the key theories and methods routinely used in THEIR field. It goes something like this:
Q: "Why didn't you cite the work of Professor Rupert T. Gasbaggia?" (incredulous tone)
Honest A: "Because I don't know who the hell he is, and I don't care. The world doesn't revolve around Gasbaggia or your field. 99.999% of the people on this earth don't know who Gasbaggia is. It would have made more sense for you to ask me why I didn't cite Madonna."
Diplomatic A: "Hmmm... good idea. I cited the work that I thought was most relevant, but now that you mention it, I see it was an error of the highest order to have overlooked Gasbaggia. Thanks!" (bright smile followed by mental resolution NOT to cite Gasbaggia)
From my fear of being attacked during my talk by my pleasant but overly educated, narcissistic, and competitive companions (hey, it takes one to know one) to my fear of not being ABLE to give a talk due to altitude-induced vomiting and diarrhea, I'm a bit of a basket case.
Ah well, at least I get to wear jeans and comfortable shoes.