Respectful Insolence

AACR random blogging I

Having gone to two meetings in less than two weeks, I’ve noticed something different about how I approach meetings. Surgical meetings often reflect the truly bizarre nature of surgeon personalities. For example, the meeting in San Diego that I went to had one session that started at–I kid you not–6 AM. True, they did lure us in with a full breakfast, the only session that offered more than coffee and the occasional snack, but even for a surgeon getting up to show up at such an early session is a bit brutal. Back when I was younger, I would actually get up to go to that session, because it was traditionally about the latest advances in breast cancer treatment. Over time, I’ve come to realize that it’s not the end of the world if you miss the occasional lecture or symposium at these meetings, and I usually don’t show up anymore before the (marginally) more civilized hour of 8 AM. Unless a talk really, really–really–interests me (or unless it’s a session where I myself am giving a talk), I just won’t get up that early anymore.

That was describing a relatively small meeting where all the sessions are held at a single hotel, a meeting where I could, in essence, roll out of bed, get all cleaned up, and wander downstairs. Here at the AACR, I have the misfortune of being at the second farthest hotel from the convention center of all the meeting hotels. It’s well north of Dupont Circle on Connecticut Avenue. The AACR runs shuttle buses between all the hotels and the meeting, but I discovered that it can take close to a half hour for the shuttle running to my hotel to get to the meeting in rush hour DC traffic. I’m beginning to wonder if taking the Metro would be faster.

What that means is that I’m even less likely to make it to early sessions. The AACR runs some “Meet the Expert” sunrise sessions, some of which look fairly interesting. None of them, however, rise to the level where I’m willing to get up and be ready to catch a shuttle bus by 6:30 AM to make it to the talks on time.

I must be getting old. Either that, or I’m becoming more sane than I used to be. Maybe a little bit of both.

Comments

  1. #1 The Brummell
    April 4, 2006

    I’ve been to a handful of scientific meetings myself, but none of those included 6:00AM sessions. Why do we tolerate the horrible extreme-morning people getting their way? You want to wake up 2 hours before sunrise, and go to bed at 7:00, be my guest. But why do you insist on dragging me onto your defective schedule?

  2. #2 juliamd
    April 4, 2006

    I know what you mean, Orac. I went to Pri-Med in Boston last year and the extra CME credits were all sunrise sessions. Well that meant that they started at 6:15. Well that meant I had to be up and ready to catch a 5:30 shuttle. You can guess that didn’t happen. I mean, I like the extra special lectures and stuff, but that was my vacation time for the year. I was NOT going to be getting up at 4:30 or 5 AM on my vacation, CME or not.

  3. #3 Julia
    April 5, 2006

    Taking the Metro might very well be quicker. I haven’t used it enough since 2000 to have good data one way or the other, though. (My sister would know, but she’s not reading your blog.)

    The Dupont Circle station wasn’t too bad for getting 2 strollers off the subway and back to street level. (January 2004, so that may be hopelessly out of date.)

    I don’t know how close it is, but there are times when it’s quicker to walk, depending on distance.