Monday. Not yet, but Monday I head to Raleigh for the day, then cruise to Chattanooga on Tuesday by way of Nashville for SETC. SETC is the Southeastern Theatre Conference, one of the largest theatre gatherings in the country each year. Over 800 little actor types will audition for roles in dozens of summer-stock theatres, and dozens of college faculty are roaming the conference each day. There are also hundreds of high school kids auditioning for college scholarships and college kids auditioning for grad school. That leads to tons of high school teachers roaming around as well.
That means it's one of the most profitable shows each year for my company, as it's very cheap to exhibit at, and the return is pretty good. We typically find one or two projects each year, with a price tag of over $100K, which more than pays for the show. So it's a good business decision to be there.
And it always feels like home to me. I got my job largely because of connections I made at SETC a long time ago, and I'm not alone in our organization. There are people that I only ever see at the conference, people that have become great friends of mine over the years. It's probably my favorite show each year.
So why am I not more excited about it?
I've been asking myself that for weeks, and finally hit on a viable reason early this week. It's because I've been traveling so much lately. Now, I can't hold a candle to BG or Special K, or Pauly and Change100, or some of the real road warriors I know, but this year has had a ton of travel for me, compared to previous years.
One good barometer is my Marriott Rewards membership. I'm just a lowly Silver member, which means I stay more than 10 nights each year in a Marriott hotel. Last year my travel was at a all-time low, and it took me until December to book 10 nights in a Marriott hotel. That includes several nights booked for one of my out of town managers who was in Charlotte to meet with me.
It's March 1, and I've spent 7 nights in a Marriott, 2 in a Super 8, 1 in a Wingate, 4 in a Crown Plaza and 3 in the Imperial Palace, with 5 more hotel nights next week. I'm pretty sure that math works out to around double my total 2007 hotel nights by the end of the first week of March, 2008. So that's kinda put a damper on my typical excitement about SETC. Usually, it's my first real travel since the LDI trade show in the fall. This year, it's just another week sleeping in an unfamiliar bed. What I'm really looking forward to is the week after SETC, when my schedule can return to normal, I can get my diet back into some semblance of regularity, and it starts warming up enough down here to ride in the weekends or even after work for a little while.
My fitness has slipped quite a bit during the winter and I'm trying very hard to balance work, which has picked up enough that my entire team is remarking that it feels like a different place to work, my writing, which has also been pretty steadily busy so far this year (although the next couple of months looks pretty lean as we head into the Series), exercise, which has fallen off to an embarrassing degree, and family time, which will be non-existent until Suzy and I get done with Diary of Anne Frank the end of this month.
This is pretty much how everyone lives, but I've coasted for a while on work and now with some renewed energy I'm seeing my department really take off, which means more travel, which means more interaction with customers (which is the part of the job I'm really good at), but it also means adjustments in my schedule, which always take a while to get used to.
But here's a banner fucking headline for you. In February 2008 I experienced no significant death in my immediate family and spent no time sitting by anyone's hospital bed. That breaks a streak of amazingly bad Februarys that was 2 years deep. I just hope fate wasn't all confuddled by the Leap Year and it all goes to shite in March.