The Conference Away From Home

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Whenever I look ahead at my work schedule and see travel I get a sinking feeling. I really don’t like it, I don’t like the airports, I don’t like the conferences and I don’t like the hotels. The seminars always fail to capture me and never present anything I couldn’t have read from my bench. The ceremony doesn’t impress me either. Everyone there knows that these awards are decided before the initiative produces anything and more than half the people who are there don’t care about what they were trying to produce in the first place. These are basically industry events and I could explore the boundaries of verbal diarrhea if that’s what I wanted to write about today. Given that it’s not, I will just keep it short by saying that I consider myself a researcher first and by that virtue these events leave me missing my lab.

When the reminder popped up on my calendar I felt an uneasy queasiness in the pit of my stomach. I looked at the list of attendees and there was my name, Michelle, where I expected to see it. Somewhere in my mind I was hoping the feeling would last so I could skip the whole thing with illness. Someone else could make our “presence known” as my boss liked to say. In times like that I use avoidance as my best defence to having my nerves grated by his poor attempts to disguise his politicking.

These tasks often get delegated to me, because despite my inwardly less than cheerful demeanour, I’ve never been able to successfully channel that into the sort of bellicosity required to make others feel uneasy. On the contrary, people at these things tend to find me charming, engaging and generally pleasant. And while women are becoming more of a presence in the field, it is one still dominated by men, so my boss figures he can win some points even if I don’t say anything. In some ways I tend to stand out and people remember me.

I’ve always spent a lot of time in front of mirrors. As a teenager I spent more time looking into the reflective glass than I did into television screens. It was an inescapable part of my every day. I studied myself from every angle, tried to envision the angle others would see me from and surveyed my imperfections. The mirror had the power to fill me with confidence or belittle my every effort. I needed my mirrors, I couldn’t live without them, they reflected the me I wanted to project, without them I wouldn’t even know what that was. Having to go to these conferences always leads me to an inescapable night in front of the mirror. Despite my best attempts to shake it, I really do care what people think about me and my looks.

I recently turned 43, I no longer have the youthful looks that led to infuriating patronizing I would usually be on the receiving end of. I would have preferred not getting older, but conversely I have become more comfortable in my body. In a perfect, paradox free life, I would have had this mindset at 25. I’m still pretty thin, at 5’7″ 150ish, but my butt sticks out a bit more than before and my hips flair more; a trait that takes some eyes with it when I move. My legs are strong from playing soccer, the muscle shows on the front of my thighs in tight clothing. My breasts don’t sag or cause me back trouble and in that I feel blessed. Even at my age I have my brown hair kept long and don’t straighten the little curls. All in all I feel confident when I enter a room and don’t shy away from tight clothing or let self doubt surround my mind if a guy chooses to stare.

I have a few different outfits that I like to wear for these events. They have an order depending on the length of the conference and if those attending will be similar to the last one. My vanity doesn’t really allow me to go to these things looking like the way I feel about them; this is probably another reason I’m picked to go. Looking professional, in the traditional sense, is important. This is much different from looking professional in a real sense, in a real sense what I wear under my lab coat is often a pair a jeans, but that doesn’t fly at an event where the idea is to present an image detached from reality. For something like this, it’s what I call “business sexy”, which is generally greys, blacks, and whites with beige accessories. Some women have the body type that can make the pants suit look fabulous but I know my limits. For me, it’s skirts just above the knee, blouses, jackets and two inch heels. I also throw a three inch pair in for the evening dinner on the last day.

These tight fitting skirts and shoes aren’t the most comfortable things to wear, however in the interest of packing light the only other clothing item I pack is a robe to wear in the hotel. Bringing me to the thing I hate at least as much as the conferences: the hotel room. These things often wrap up around 3-4 in the afternoon daily leaving me with nothing to do. Lots of them go off drinking and carousing, but only one of those really interests me and I don’t need a crowd to do it. That isn’t to say a bottle of wine alone in a hotel room doesn’t have its own depressive qualities.

In most ways my life is pretty canlı bahis typical and boring. I am the mother of two wonderful children, a 20 year marriage, two car garage, swimming pool and many of the other stereotypes of the upper-middle class. By day, I’m a scientist in a lab and by night I turn into a homework dictator, the latter is a role that gets more tiring by the year. The night before I left for the fateful conference was not unlike most nights in our household. Lisa, my daughter, would be sitting at the dinning room table practicing her dirty looks in my direction much more than the problems in her math book. Every night it was her job to put at least an hour into her studies, which made it my job to judge when that hour had actually taken place. It was a power struggle of epically minor proportions in the grande scheme, but like all power struggles the scale is relative. In our house this one was centre stage, to the point of being another reason I didn’t want to travel. She would be able to manipulate her dad into relaxing her confines and we both knew there was nothing I could do about it. I could almost hear the smugness in her voice when she reminded me that I was leaving the next day.

I felt a little burnt out that night when I finally made it to bed around 11. We cuddled for a bit in a show a solidarity against our teenage daughter. Our cuddling gave way to more heavy petting knowing we would be apart for a few days. Soon my husband made his way between my legs to perform oral sex on me. It was exactly what I needed, I felt myself melt into the bed and he softly licked and gently pressed my sensitive spots. He had a pretty good gauge of my mood and didn’t get aggressive or overbearing. My stress was evaporating, we met again for a kiss before having a very deep sleep.

I woke up and made Lisa breakfast before seeing her to school. My son drove me to the airport seeing as he didn’t have classes that morning. He helped me with my bag and gave me a big hug and kiss. I do have a loving family, which makes my actions and decisions of the coming days all the more irrational and perplexing. Once on the plane, I got the trapped feeling of not being able to turn back; I really hate that feeling.

The first few days of the conference were as expected. Workshops and seminars that barely scratch the surface. The industry of science is pushed to the forefront. This is basically making sure people get paid, keeping the money changing hands often regardless of merit. There are dirty elements to it, luckily I am not in a consultant heavy area and can remain aloof from a lot of it. Making connections and getting paid keep the train moving just as in any other industry. Real discovery almost always takes a back seat to business and political objective. I don’t claim to have a better way, so I have to temper my criticism with that obvious caveat. Regardless of how constructive the criticism is, it bares repeating how much I hate the award portion of events.

As the final day wore on my mind continued to wander, as so often it does, I started to think about numbers. There is something about numbers that will never cease to fascinate me, it’s a pass-time for me and I enjoy it. It’s strange that, in a room full of physicists, it’s so rare that I can find someone to actually talk to about numbers. Most just want to flirt with me or keep the conversation superficial at the risk of showing some gap in knowledge. This sort of pride is common in these circles, I don’t really get it, because when I don’t know something I want to find out about it, not change the subject to avoid being exposed. Having ignorance exposed is the only way to change it into knowledge, provided that it’s approached with an open yet critical mind.

At some moments in time the universe seems ordered and logical, at others completely irrational. The possibilities that exist in life are always there, but only become real when you choose to explore them, make them part of your own experience. It was near the end of the day when one of these possibilities presented himself to me in real form. He was a little older, well kept with a clear intention to the way that he dressed. There is something about a man who understands the small nuances in style that I’ve always been a sucker for. He was tall, had more than a hint of silver in his hair that made him look distinguished, thin but not lanky, with deep and lovely brown eyes. He approached me with restrained confidence and dispensed with small talk before it even started, as if he knew I was in no mood for the idle chit chat that plagued these gatherings.

Now I have spent a lot of time around people who can perform mathematics at what most would say in a high level. They can memorize formulas, solve problems, do complex arithmetic in their heads and all sorts of tricks. My husband is an engineer and that is his type of math, he is good at it, it’s functional and he never questions the deeper meaning. To me, this is a level below the philosophical. On the philosophical level mathematics make descriptions of bahis siteleri complex systems where words are bound to fail. This is the realm of theoretical physics, and it is a topic that truly excites me and can lead to rambling.

Dr. Vasiliev was brilliant to talk to on this subject. He tempered the runaway metaphysical approach, so many take, with grounded observational data. I do enjoy the metaphysical aspects of the discussions but, keeping it simple, I don’t like when people get so wrapped up in trying to discuss other realities that they forget to describe the one we perceive. He spoke directly and with authority. The roughness of his native Russian accent had lost its edges from years of living in North America, making his voice sound calm and pleasant.

I was captivated by his words and our exchange, so much so, that I didn’t realize the day had ended and the floor was clearing out. I was in no mood to go back to my hotel room, for my date with a bottle of wine, so invited him to join me at the hotel bar for a few drinks, to finish our conversation. He graciously accepted and told me that he would meet me there after he parted with a few of his colleagues. The hotel was just across the street, so I went there to wait for his arrival.

While waiting, I reflected on our conversation and the nature of irrationality. Some real numbers are, of course, like people irrational. Having a favourite number that is Pi or the square root of 2 is problematic in that you need another way to express it rather than the actual number; it can never be seen as all parts of itself. Unless you happen to have infinity on your hands and think repeating numerals would be a good use of it. In terms of math though, a rational number is no more rational than an irrational one, that’s just the label the latter got stuck with. They both exist in the same way; one is just trailed and preceded by endless zeros. At any point, on either side of the decimal, a number can be inserted between either one and get you a new number. In essence a number becomes rational when you stop counting. The endless expanse of irrationality is, in many ways, far more captivating than comfortable notions. By making the smallest subtraction or addition, some very rational numbers can become completely irrational.

The thing about these conferences is that the social aspect is not that dissimilar from high school and I was flirting with scandal. Everyone is staying in hotels in and around the conference centre; there are always a pair of eyes sensitive to this sort of behaviour. Professionally it’s unbecoming and the gossip spreads through the patrons like wildfire before you can say good morning. I’d always avoided becoming a subject of innuendo at these things but have been no stranger to hearing it; it was unavoidable. I wasn’t blind either, I saw his wedding ring, and I was wearing mine; this is exactly the sort of lapse in morality that hungry wolves feed on. Yet, there I was, sitting at a booth and inviting danger. There is no way I can explain this in terms of rationality.

Dr. Vasiliev stood out as he entered the bar. To me, he seemed to control his surroundings; there was no doubt, I knew that I had fallen for him. Our conversation continued over drinks, it flowed natural, the time was passing so quickly. It wasn’t all serious, he knew when to make a joke, a play on words or when to allow a silence to be shared. Before long it was 7. We mutually decided to have dinner, which led to more personal conversations. We talked about our families as if to confront the fact that we both had them, it was raised in a casual way to not avoid the topic. His eyes studied my reactions, he was sizing up his prey. Desert followed, as we continued to enjoy each other’s company without acknowledging that we had been strangers just short hours ago. My flirting had devolved into rather girlish twirling of my hair and lowering my eyes in an attempt to raise them at the right moment to catch his.

After he paid the bill, he skillfully picked up my coat to put around my shoulders, the effect was to make it feel natural to leave together. We walked arm in arm to the elevator without exchanging words. Stepping on the platform, I uttered 21 to indicate the floor we were going to. Elements of shame started to come over me. My feet were becoming cold as I tried to take sober breaths. I still had time to back out, I could change the course of events simply by saying I had a wonderful evening and good night. I didn’t have to explain myself, I never promised him anything and my wedding ring was proof I wasn’t leading him on. I was completely in my power to end this and yet I felt so powerless to do so.

The hallway to my room seemed long. I was starting to get scared. I was scaring myself with how casual everything had been that got me to this point. That got me to being escorted to my hotel room by a strange man, a charming man, but strange nevertheless. When we got to my door I exhaled the tension that had been building inside of me and decided to put a stop to this.

“Niko, bahis şirketleri we just can’t, I just can’t, we need to leave this right here.” I managed to say with measured determination.

“Let’s just stop before this becomes something we can’t take back.” I said in the silence of the hallway.

It was as if I was trying to convince myself. His eyes were still sizing me up. He didn’t respond, he just kept an even gaze on me. I was fumbling through my purse looking for the keycard to get into the room. I wanted to do it in all one motion, once I separated us with a door I would be outside of his influence. I found the card and raised my eyes, they caught his and we started to kiss. I dropped my purse and engaged in a passionate mouth to mouth kiss. The sort of kiss that encompasses many breaths. He pushed me up against the door and we continued the kiss until I was finally able to break free.

“Niko, I’m married!”

I sudden burst of anger took over. I was angry at myself, I was angry at him and I was just angry. I picked up my purse and tried to fight back my tears as I opened the door. I left him in the hallway and leaned against the door, my legs felt too weak to go any further. I knew he was just on the other side of the door, it was silent and I didn’t hear him leave. I was confronted with two possibilities and they were both clearly defined. If I leave the door shut, he ceases to exist in my reality, and me in his. If the door opens our realities collide and our bodies connect. I knew that was the decision that I was faced with.

I was still fighting back my tears when my mind and body gave into the darker side of my passions. Slowly and meekly I opened the door to see my soon to be lover standing there looking not one bit dismayed by my skittish behaviour. I started to apologize, but before I could even formulate the words they were clearly not required. We were kissing again as if we never broke or first feverish embrace. This time, in the privacy of my room his hands were more at liberty to explore. For a scientist, he was a surprisingly good kisser, but I could tell he didn’t have that much experience with this sort of thing either. Much of the debonair ladies man that I had ascribed to him was just my brain building an image to its own pleasing. In the honesty of passion he was much more a real person. We were both showing signs of apprehension mixed with determination to see this through.

“Have you ever done this before?” I managed to ask between kisses.

“Not like this.” I could hear hints of fear in this voice that told me that this was a true statement.

“It’s ok, we can go slow if you want.” I tried to re-assure him that I had no preconceived notions or expectations.

“I don’t want to go slowly, I want you.” Niko said with resolve.

The room was still dark, and our kissing hadn’t taken us that deep into the interior. There was a small kitchen in the room with a counter-island between it and the sleeping area. I was leaning against the counter when Niko slightly lifted me so I was sitting on it. I was wearing a skirt that was pushed up around my hips when I wrapped my legs around him while we made out. We stayed kissing like that exchanging between frantic and gentle. I could feel his erection the entire time. Finally a break came, we both looked into each others eyes and made a non verbal agreement to move to the next level. I slowly took my wedding ring off and placed it down beside me.

Niko moved from between my legs and started to remove my panties before taking his place in the same position we were in. I was now exposed to him from the waist down and felt more naked than if I was completely nude. I knew it was happening soon and I started to tremble as my nerves were giving out.

Niko started to gently sooth me saying, “It’s ok”, and “it will be ok.” As if he was trying to convince both of us.

I closed my eyes and heard his belt come undone and this pants hit the floor. We kissed again, wrapped up in each others arms. I felt some pressure at my entrance, as if I was being felt out, then a push as he began entering me.

“It’s ok, you’re getting fucked.” He whispered in my ear, pointing out the obvious.

The tension escaped my body in groans and moans while he slowly screwed me on the island. It felt very nice and I had no desire to push him to go faster or change anything. He was very gentle with me in that moment and his kisses lent to the warmth of the moment. That is how I felt inside, very warm. He moved in and out in measured movements that gradually got deeper. We stayed connected at the mouth as well forming a connected circle in our embrace.

His strong hands lifted me off the counter a brought me to the bed. He took off my skirt and blouse leaving me completely naked. He took off his shirt too and layed up against the headboard. I knew what he wanted and I wanted to do it for him. I took his dick into my hand, it was slick with my juices providing the natural lubricant. I slowly moved my hand up and down his entire penis while he relaxed completely. His breath became very audible as I performed the intimate massage, using my saliva when it became necessary. I knelt beside him and encouraged him to let me do everything, his only job was to enjoy it.

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