Wish You Were Here (Or I Was There)

Article by Jessica Johnson, Senior Associate Editor, Timber Processing July/August 2020

Okay, I am just going to come out and say it—I hate Zoom; Google Hangouts; Microsoft Teams; Apple Facetime; Facebook Live; Instagram Live. All of it is literally the worst. Stick with me here, please, because I know in this day and age we need all of these technologies to stay connected, and I am grateful to have access to all of these options to stay connected to the industry and my family and friends who live far away. I understand we must do certain things to keep our friends, our neighbors and ourselves healthy. But, y’all I really hate the video chat phenomenon. I hate it because I am an extroverted extrovert. I thrive on crowds and, I am sure this will not be a shock, I am a hugger. I like hugging people. I don’t want to see your beautiful face in a badly lit video. Also, my awkward jokes and wild gesturing don’t play well on a 13 in. screen.

I want to be under the lights of an expo center and see every glorious inch of you in florescent. I don’t want to have a calendar invite to a Google Hangout to discuss strategy for an it-might-happen-but-might-not-happen tennis tournament in September. I want to meet out at the courts and run, hit the ball, and then try to figure out if I am in fact a good enough rec league tennis player to have a strategy besides “hit the ball over the net and inside the lines.”

Also, I have two small children and there is absolutely nothing worse on the planet than a Zoom’d circle time where for 20 minutes everyone screams and one kid walks around showing off every corner of his house, including his older brother who is sleeping on the sofa. Man, not to get too controversial, but we really don’t pay teachers enough.

So it was with a broken heart, I realized that the Timber Processing & Energy Expo was just not going to happen this year in Portland, Ore. My heart was broken because I wanted to see the crowds gather around the latest drone video from a new sawmill on display. It was broken because I wouldn’t be buzzing around with beer tickets catching up with old friends and making new ones. But, by choosing to cancel our 2020 event we are able to wait, make sure the world is a safer place for us to all crowd the brat line and wonder if the Oregon Ducks really will have what it takes to beat the SEC in a playoff game. 2022 (September 28-30 to be exact) will be better and safer for our industry to have its family reunion in Portland.

However, for those companies who were going to exhibit this year in Portland, we’re not forgetting you. Instead, we will have the TP&EE Showcase in our September issue and on our website. For those exhibitors who advertise in the September issue, you’ll be invited to submit editorial for the printed magazine and also submit a video for the TP&EE web site—videos to be shown only during what would have been our show dates, September 30-October 2. Mind you, this is not a virtual expo, but simply an opportunity for those companies who were going to exhibit to advertise in the September issue and gain additional print and online exposure.

For the sawmill personnel, it won’t be the same as walking the aisles, but it will be an excellent opportunity to dive deeper into what equipment companies are up to these days to help bring your mill to the next level. Just don’t slosh a beer on your computer when you pretend I am giving you the biggest hug.

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