Oh dear, oh dear! Today I visited my first conference as a professional. For starters, it was a huge conference on Egypt's economic future at the Four Seasons Plaza. I saw a lot of important people in my life and I waived at them from afar, expressing my admiration or disdain as a pathetic little dot in the crowd. Today, Egypt's Minister of Solidarity walked past me on his way to the VIP lounge and shook my hand. I admit the guy didn't look at my name tag first, not realizing that I am not actually impotant at all today, but he acknowledged my presence which was good enough for me at the time. Of course that was before I became a Cairo socialite in the course of that conference. By the end of it I was sitting next to him at dinner.
I was still totally shocked about the developments, however, tried to remain cool. I didn't want anyone to realize I really had no place being there. Fortunately, nobody noticed at all. On the contrary: the assistant director of the conference approached me and insisted that I would sit at his table at dinner. I was directed to the pool side which had been closed for the dinner party. At my table I was joined by people who were frequently called "the most important people in Egypt", still having no clue why that was the case. My chat was limited to the fact I don't live in a posh area of Cairo which appalled the whole table because I knew nothing about their business. People seemed to have no idea I was neither rich nor important. I was desperately trying to avoid showing that I'm a hippie who shouldn't really sit at that table with every move I made which became challenging when dinner was served. Which fork do I use? I felt like Jack Dawson on the Titanic, only that my company didn't consider me a low life but a distinguished guest. How the hell did I pull that off? But I surely did.
The next morning I arrived to familiar faces that were smiling at me even more than the day before. That wasn't too surprising if one considers that I had been dining with the director of the conference and his mother the night before. The important peps were my posse. Entering the conference hall I was just going to take an unassigned seat but I was dragged to the front row to my objection that the seat I was taking was assigned to special guests. I was assured that I am a friend of the company, therefore being very deserving of the spot. Although flattered I felt like I was cheating actual VIPs. I was the least deserving person to even be at the conference, never mind be in the papers that same day, and getting invited to yet another free, 3-course-lunch by the pool with Cairo's elite. I am grateful my blonde hair would allow me to live this life but I am also embarrassed that it was genuinely just some hair. What else should it have been? I've only had the job for three weeks.
I used my new found status to steal some of the free goodies from VIP and all the food I could get my hands on. When a man sitting next to me didn't finish his amazing dessert I asked a waiter if I could get it to take away. I'm 99% sure they never got a request like that before. The whole table was laughing but for some reason they loved it. I suppose even the posh don't like wasting food. So in the end I walked out of the conference with friends in high places, fed for free and with cake in my hand. I don't know what I did, but I did it right. Can't say I expected this kind of success but I'm not going to complain. After all the bad luck I had in employment in the last few months the karma balance had to shift at one point. And it did big time. I can't wait for the next conference...