Emily Triplett Lentz and Andrea Badgley. Photo credit Ben Macaskill.
“How should we do the intro? Should Andrea reveal the slide, or do you want to do that when you get up there?” Scott looked to Emily Triplett Lentz, writer for Help Scout’s blog, who would soon take the stage to share their 2016 Customer Support Salary Study with SupConf attendees.
I looked to Emily for her answer as well, and as she spoke, I saw some of the coolest earrings I’ve ever seen. Long golden tear drops, substantial, dangling perfectly, 3 inches of shiny, sleek metal. I reached out to touch one, felt its weight, tipped it to see how smoothly it moved on its hook.
And then realized I had just touched a stranger’s earring. I looked at Emily, horrified. “I’m so sorry! I couldn’t help myself — I don’t know why I just did that!” I looked at Scott, SupConf’s lead organizer. “Oh my god, did I violate our code of conduct?”
He and Emily were laughing hard enough that I felt maybe she’d forgive me. “You’re fine,” she giggled.
The next day, the two of them were chatting in the back of the room. I approached to say hi, and Emily pulled the hair back from one of her ears. “Do you want to touch them?” she asked. We all laughed (and yes, I did want to touch them, and yes, I did touch them).
It wasn’t until a couple of days later, when I struggled to recall the everything from SupConf, that I realized Emily and I made a connection. The connection has nothing to do with support, or with our careers, or with anything substantive from the conference. It has everything to do with goofiness and with breaking down barriers, though, and it is memorable.
This is the magic of getting together in real life. Thanks for letting me touch your earring, Emily. I now follow the Help Scout blog because of this, and will always feel like Emily and I are pals.