I have a badge that entitles me to walk around the exhibit hall. The exhibitors are slightly better dressed than the average conference attendee. They give away pens and stress balls and stickers. Some of them sell books. I am confident that if asked to give a blurb for the back of most of the books I saw, I could say in all honesty that it made a great pillow when I fell asleep on top of it since they’re all nice and thick and have titles like Backflips for Server Balancers or The Complete Book of Cords and Cables. (I admit I was tempted to buy the book that explains statistics using Manga, but I walked away with only a cool sticker of a robot pouring coffee into its head.) More of the exhibitors seem to be selling security-related concepts. Some are selling jobs. One person had power strips taller than I am, which was kind of cool. I imagined a high-tech house with power strip baseboards.
I have learned to introduce myself by saying, “I’m Janet and I’m non-technical.” This is useful because either the people I’m talking with speak in actual English after that or ignore me entirely and let me get back to imagining the Grep.