19 November 2010

the sbl name badge game

I arrived in Atlanta late last night and, after a day of catching up with some of my southern friends, am getting ready for the beginning of the annual SBL meetings. Since I was organized enough to leave my credentials at home, I have already been to the registration desk and retrieved another.

And walking back to my room, I was reminded of a fun little quirk to these meetings.

There isn't a whole lot of eye contact when you walk around the convention. Instead, everyone is directing their eyes at everyone else's name badges. This is so that we might be able to determine if someone is important before we can decide what level of interaction that we are willing to commit to.

I admit that I can be somewhat guilty of this, but typically only if someone looks familiar. When walking around you notice that some people read your name and respond with a smug look, some offer a polite nod, but most of those who see my badge have a bit of disappointment in their eyes. Although some people might think this is rude and off-putting, I find it quite humorous - especially since I know my place in the biblical studies food chain, and am simply happy to be a part of the ride.

In all seriousness, the experience of passing by and interacting with all of these giants of biblical studies is a great time, especially finding time to share with those with whom you've built relationships over the years. So, in relative anonymity I will cruise through the next couple of days, enjoying those I know and anticipating connections with new faces.

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