Saturday, October 4, 2014

The day I became "famous"...!

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.

Being a blonde, German girl at a conference about Egypt's economic future equals being Beyonce at the VMAs. The members of the press, desperate to underline the internationality of today's conference, were showering me in flashes. I was presented with a lot of respect because my attendance meant that I must be an intellectual, therefore deserving of accolades. The biggest moment was when the CEO of the company putting up the conference, also once known as the most influential woman of Egypt, asked me if it was ok to take a photo with me for the papers. I am aware that I am a smart girl with a couple of degrees but every single person in that room outshone me. Yet, I was asked to the VIP section like I had any business there. In truth, I didn't even know if I was speaking to a minister or his driver.

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... 

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