I seem to remember a long, long time ago, as a green graduate student I also felt that way. Magically, these people here have been able to maintain their passion for 20, 30 yrs, working tirelessly to further their understanding of intricate molecular pathways with what appears to be single-minded focus. I still enjoy my job and find human biology absolutely intriguing, but to tell you the truth, I have many other interests...
I've always been flighty - my kindergarten teacher told my mother that I was an excellent student only when I was introduced to new material. After a few repeated exposures, I was no longer paying any attention to the lesson, doing my own thing and causing trouble. I guess I haven't changed much.
Despite all my bitching and complaining about how this conference is going, it has been a productive time for me with three new possible collaborations, a newly discovered joy for running/exercising (my preferred way to spend my lunch break over discussion MORE science with other people here), and a possible weight-loss benefit from the lack of acceptable food choices. I'll have to get on the scale at the gym when I get back to CA to confirm that last one, though.
In fact, I've been so hungry today that I was daydreaming about ice cream during one of the sessions. I couldn't stop thinking about Maple View Farm ice cream. Maple View Farm is a NC treasure - their milk, bottled in re-used glass jars, is smooth and flavorful with no hints of that stale smell packaged milk often has. It reminds me of the milk I grew up with in Japan, when the milk man still brought glass jars to my grandparents' house. I got so used to having Maple View Farm's milk in NC that I couldn't get myself to drink the packaged grocery store milk when I first moved to CA. I still don't drink glasses of milk in CA like I used to in NC and prefer to consume milk via the Papa Yogurt.
Just a few days ago, I was in ice cream heaven in Chapel Hill, feasting on smooth, flavorful, airy yet rich ice cream served at the perfect temperature - cold without being hard, melting only in your mouth and not on your shirt. Maple View Farm opened a new shop right in town, and although I miss going out to their farm in the country, the convenience of getting Maple View Farm ice cream any night of the week is great! Open 'til 10 PM, this ice cream store is going to do some MAD business this summer!
With that thought, it looks like I'll have to go back to conferencing...
PS: I wish I had a large family so I could order a 'whole' beef. Would I get the whole cow????