An unprofessional conference chair (Rousse)

The keynote speaker – Professor EG from Berlin – was so excited to see me that she stretched out her hand and brushed my arm. I recoiled in horror. How could she be unaware that we were still social distancing in the UK?

On the hour, every hour, one set of tweeded academics traded places with another as delegates made their way in and out of classrooms that served as conference halls. I considered missing the last session of the afternoon, but decided that I should put in an appearance. I plonked myself in a seat next to my old running chum EJ and waited for the chair to introduce the speaker. Then I checked the duration of the session and thought it a good idea to pop to the ladies before the start.

When I returned I could tell that I was in trouble. I had completely forgotten that this was the session that I was meant to be chairing. Everyone else was waiting for me to call the room to order and introduce the first speaker.

An officious German woman was particularly peeved at my lack of professionalism. I was just grateful that she had worked out all the timings so that I could concentrate on reading the bios of the speakers that I now (suddenly) found myself required to introduce.

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