Hi. I'm Emma Jane Maple, of Granolan College. Everyone else has talked about the terrific work they've done and how it relates to underwater basketweaving. Um, I've done some stuff. But it's about something sort of different, and there isn't very much of it, and you'd all laugh, and I'm ashamed of the details, so let me just skip that discussion.
I'm here because my doctoral advisor, Dr. Complicated, and my current collaborator, Dr. Wow, dragooned me into it. Not that either one of them particularly wants to talk to me. But you're all at research universities, and you've all published lots, and you're all smarter than I am and work harder, too. So I don't really blame them. (Although, hey, Dr. Wow, could you at least say "hello" in English? I'm not the only person at the workshop who doesn't speak Russian, you know.)
My primary concerns right now are, well, extracurricular. Where, in this horrible open-plan space, am I going to pump? How is Miss T. doing on her day with dada, and how will she do with a strange sitter tomorrow? Why in the name of God am I attending three days of talks and breakout sessions, to which I have nothing to contribute, when the net result will almost certainly be a baby who cries more than she would have otherwise? And why am I not home working on syllabi and stocking the freezer with lasanga and so forth, when classes are about to start and my blessed beautiful helpful Beaker is about to go into the hospital for an entire month?
What am I hoping to get out of this workshop? A good evening or two visiting the friends I'm staying with. No direct insults from either Dr. Complicated or Dr. Wow. Beaker will get some face time with his bosses; the location was good for him, as it turned out. Oh, and I might hear about some things I could try to work on—although Dr. Zoom up in the front row usually publishes a showstopper paper on any subject I start looking into, about a week after I articulate the questions to myself. (Is it true you're working on a monograph, Dr. Zoom? Perhaps I should just give up now, since it will probably anticipate everything I'll ever try to do in my entire career.)
In closing, let me request that you don't ask me any questions. If I know the answers, then I'm sure you already do too.