The two day conference was designed to help mental health professionals help their clients with 'mindfulness'. An old concept with names to match the times, mindfulness is all about being in the moment, being present in the here and now -- whatever it's called its all about focus in what's going on right this minute as though right this minute was or might be the only minute we have.
Conferences by nature and crowded and not particularly comfortable. The tables are too small, the lighting seems designed to trigger headaches, and the temperature is never just right but always at one extreme of the thermostat or the other.
The middle chair of a three chair table is never popular and generally -- just like on airplane flights -- the person sitting in that position has no other choices or is traveling with a loved one. For this conference I had the perfect place to sit -- end of the row chair, last row in the room about two feet from the wall. I didn't much care that there was an electrical outlet on the wall. The guy who at the last minute moved from his front row aisle chair to that empty middle of the row chair between me and my quite companionable complete stranger never to see again conference pal explained himself this way -- as though his behavior needed explanation:
"I need the outlet for my laptop. I've gotta use my laptop."
Whereupon he plugged in cords, ran cords under the table and up onto the table in front of his chair, and set up his laptop. He then got several pastries, cups of coffee, a couple glasses of orange juice, water, plates and napkins. Once settled in, he booted up his computer and immediately logged onto his Facebook account. Throughout the conference -- on Mindfulness -- he switched between Facebook, email and sports news.
Perhaps he misunderstood the title of the conference and thought it focused on Minds Fullness.
Or perhaps he is proof of the new brain.
To each his own, I say.