I'm told my lanyard costs $50 to replace. This from the woman who handed me my Associated Writers and Writer's Programs Convention registration materials. There are 15,000 people registered for AWP Seattle. Three times the number of people in the town where I live. It's a busy place and the lanyards tell us who we are and whether to care. The inch-thick booklet is much cheaper, and can be replaced for a 10-spot. Not so the lanyard, in kitschy green. Hold onto that, she said, because it'll be a cool $50 to secure myself another.
If I was remiss enough to lose it, I told her, I'll relegate myself to a sticky note duct-taped to my shirt. I'll be the dork with NO lanyard, I said. It'll serve me right, for losing my fine, professional lanyard. She laughed. We agreed that this was a clever idea. We both rolled our eyes toward the piles and piles, and piles, of lanyards.
But then, I couldn't help looking around for lanyards the first morning. Trying to see others who were wearing them. Should I put on my landyard? Those people aren't wearing lanyards. Have lanyards lost their appeal and they are worn now in pockets? A whole generation of writers that must get into each others' pants in order to get to know one another? Or maybe that's the way it's always been. I'm not sure. It's my first writer's convention. But, you know, I've heard talk. Still, it would be comforting to see just one lanyard, right now, so that I would know it's safe to put on my own lanyard. And really I've just wanted to say it. Say lanyard, over and over, like clutching a clipboard, like a life ring, through a busy room.