The ENDO 2013 conference is the annual meeting of The Endocrine Society, and over 9,000 people related to the field of endocrinology attend. There are many very important people and very important topics discussed.That being said, people ARE people and they get tired. And hungry. When one of the sessions I was attending was finished, I gratefully walked out of the lecture hall to find lunch. I was feeling a bit lazy that day, and decided to stick to the few options available on premises instead of venturing outside to one of the restaurants in the blocks surrounding the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The hallways were filled with the delicious scent of fresh crepes, and my mind was made up. My nose led me to a line at least 30 people long, standing behind one singular man making hand-made crepes. I stayed. I wasn't lying about feeling lazy. The line moved at a snail's pace. I checked all of my email via phone. I had full text conversations with long-lost friends. I discovered the cure for diabetes.* I finally reached the point were only 3 people stood between me and my crepe-alicious lunch. My reverie was suddenly interrupted by loud sirens. Everyone did that confused, exchanging glances thing where you are silently deciding whether to run like hell or simply ignore it. I chose to ignore it. I was going to get my crepe, dammit! But the sirens continued, and then a loud announcement came overhead. "There is an emergency. Everyone exit the building immediately. Everyone must leave, even if you have been waiting 30 minutes for a crepe." I swear I heard it say that, though I was delirious from my hunger at that point, so who knows. I stood in line and watched as people dutifully made their way down the hall and up the escalators in droves. I looked at the crepe man and he just put his crepe-tools up in a shrug. A security guard shouted at me from a distance. FINE. 9,000 conference attendees standing outside of the conference hall is a sight to behold. It turns out it was a legitimate emergency, as a nearby construction crew had accidentally hit a gas line. The smell of gas outside the Moscone Center was suffocating, and the gas line involved was part of the network that ran directly below the convention center. Had this been a Marlboro convention instead of a medical one, we might have been in big trouble.
9,000 people, feeling gassy.
I walked further away from the convention center alongside a physician I did not know. He told me he was in a bathroom that some unfortunate soul had just "exploded in" (his words, not mine) and when the alarms went off he told me he was sure it was from THAT kind of gas leak. Doctor bathroom humor. The worst. And I thought it was hysterical, which re-affirms my career choice. Luckily no one was injured, but the gas leak took several hours to contain and the majority of events for the day were cancelled because we were not allowed re-enter the convention center. But it was a beautiful, sunny San Francisco day, and if anyone were to be a bothered by a little mandatory Vitamin D intake, it's definitely not a group of visiting endocrinologists. *Total lie, except the email and texting part.