Auckland, conferences and driving

Well we’re back from the Auckland conference which was GREAT! We were really shaky for the whole thing and hit a few bumps along the way as people we used to work with 7 years ago asked us about the ex-husband and whether we had children etc. Was very hard to not let M tell them that when he tried to kill us in February it sort of created a bit of deal-breaker as Dr Phil would say… and ohhh he was a sick puppy so there was no way we were going to breed with him. M isn’t big on diplomacy.

But overall it wasn’t too bad. There were some great keynotes – George Oates from FLickr in particular was stunning with some really challenging ideas to shake up the librarians and archivists about control and metadata. The other keynote Dr Paul Gerhardt was finding it difficult to stay awake as he came over from England so the time difference was 11 hours and just a bit too much at times for him. But he did a gave a really interesting talk about copyright and creative commons licences.

Ok if you read past that last paragraph, you’re in trouble or a librarian/archivist… When the words metadata, copyright and creative commons are all mentioned in one paragraph, most people’s eyes glaze over and they switch off…

But anyways… we learnt heaps and there was a really good conference bag – which is always very important. However the funniest part of the whole event was the drive there and back. Imagine three librarians from a small pretend city in a work car going to Auckland which has scary things like motorways, on-ramps, off-ramps, multi-lane traffic… Because of our fear of switching and just being so shaky we didn’t want to drive so sat in the back seat on the way up there. Well, after about half an hour into the trip all we could think was “and we think WE’RE bad drivers”????? Far out, the car was being driven going over speed bumps at 40 kmph, swerving in and out of traffic… We white knuckled the arm rest the whole way up there.

On the way up we went straight to the conference and then the team leader drove us from the conference to the hotel… This is where it just got straight out hilarious. Ok, so you have three librarians in the car trying to navigate a city they don’t know with maps that don’t flow nicely, don’t show all of the one way system and don’t show that for some reason the street we wanted just suddenly stopped and then started again about 50m away with no connecting bit. So our fearless team leader took several illegal turns, but got us to the hotel with no major damage to the car (our emotional state was a different story). The hotel has a parking building around the block… to get to the car park you need to go via a car lift… SAY WHAT???? A car lift? Good grief, we’re feeling lucky to be alive and you want us to go in a car lift with these women driving? Anyway, we were at the point of just being numb and constantly laughing. After another adventure trying to find the car parking building our fearless team leader took a mere 100 turns to get the car reversed into the car lift! We were beyond caring and were just laughing non-stop. Thankfully so were the other two… we all agreed that the team leader needed a good long drink!

Because the other two had gotten us to the hotel, it was decided that it was our turn to try and get into the car lift to get out of the place and then drive us back home. So after about 10 turns we got the stupid car into the lift and bugged outta there fairly easily. But it was a different story driving back home. It started out with T driving – she’s VERY chatty and tends to talk with her hands. The others in the car quickly asked that we keep our hands on the steering wheel while on the motorway – she was driving safely as it was a straight road and we were only going about 20km/h because of the traffic. But this caused a switch to M who didn’t chat at all and got slightly impatient with the traffic jam – it’s rather amusing watching her. So then we got Sophie who liked the slower speed but kept letting everyone into the line of traffic which annoyed M. So we finally ended up with E and B – a VERY strange combination, but it worked as it blocked out M and Sophie totally. We couldn’t leave E alone as she has the Irish accent of our uncle, so she couldn’t respond to the others in the car alone.

If it wasn’t all in this head, and didn’t cause so many problems it would be funny. Ok, so sometimes it is just plain funny…

Now playing: Hymn by Brooke Fraser
via FoxyTunes


2 thoughts on “Auckland, conferences and driving

  1. The driving thing sounded like a nightmare … not your switching, but the experience of being in the car with a bunch of confused map-reading librarians. YIKES!

  2. Ohhhh yeah, they’re a wierd bunch :)But they accept us as we are and let us have our space when we need it, so they’re a pretty amazing and accepting – just don’t get in a car with them 🙂

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