I had mixed feelings when my manager asked me to go to the CLA (California Library Association) conference in Long Beach. I hate conferences because I hate people, but this wasn’t just a library conference; this was the mother of all library conferences—only ALA’s annual conference could top it.
For readers wondering what happens at a library conference (hint: there are no workshops on shushing people), I have created a detailed diary of my day below.
8:30 a.m. I decide to be environmental and ride public transportation halfway. The station is in Compton.
8:38 a.m. On train. Realize it’s probably not the smartest idea to be a white guy on a train in Compton. Begin to consider whom I will text first when I am mugged and beaten.
8:39 a.m. Remember that when I am mugged and beaten they will likely take my phone, so I don’t really need to worry about whom I will text first.
8:43 a.m. I didn’t know Rosa Parks had her own metro station. I wonder if she ever got a car. Make a mental note to Google this later.
8:58 a.m. Arrive in Long Beach. Acres of Books is walking distance from the convention center. Now I have somewhere to go when I sneak out early.
9:10 a.m. I got off a stop too early.
9:15 a.m. I haven’t used a public restroom since that whole senator scandal. I’m being extra careful. I have an eerie feeling the guy next to me is going to try and play footsies.
9:21 a.m. Realize the first workshop is at 10:30, not 9 o’clock. Great.
9:28 a.m. So bored.
10:33 a.m. First workshop is underway. It’s on Web 2.0. I hate that term.
10:36 a.m. Why do so many of the female librarians at this workshop look like men?
10:38 a.m. First person leaves. I am in the clear! Now I can leave and it won’t be weird.
10:41 a.m. I really want to leave but I don’t want it to be weird.
10:42 a.m. Decide to stay. People will stare if I leave, and I just don’t have that kind of courage.
11:01 a.m. The second half of this lecture is so boring! Everyone is leaving. It wouldn’t be weird or awkward now—everyone else is doing it.
11:02 a.m. It would be weird. I stay.
10:05 a.m. Please be almost over!
11:40 a.m. Lunch at Islands. Try to have a professional discussion.
12:10 p.m. Walk to the bay.
12:25 p.m. My impression of Long Beach? Where are all the long beaches?
1:42 p.m. Visit the job fair. After seeing the tables of various employers, consider the humor of being paid to look at the job booths of other employers. I hope no one saw me.
1:57 p.m. Why is it that every conference I go to has at least one guy wandering around like a lost European backpacker who hasn’t slept or showered in days? Seriously, who takes a hiking backpack to a library conference?
2:09 p.m. Librarians are quite tacky. I’ve heard one loudly, and unapologetically, fart. Another picked his nose, and then seemed to admire the size of the booger. And, most pathetically, I saw a librarian at lunch crawling on the ground for food that fell (which he ate).
2:17 p.m. Next workshop is presented by a guy who claims to be a futurist. Futurist! It sounds like someone who didn’t quite make it as a prophet.
2:19 p.m. This guy is sure proud of himself. Lecture summed up in one sentence: Be prepared for the future.
2:20 p.m. Look around the room and wonder if anyone actually pays the $200 for this thing.
2:43 p.m. He seems to be very passionate about something, but I’m not paying attention, so I don’t know what—must be inspiring, though. I’d like to pay attention, but I just remembered I still haven’t watched the sequel to Librarian: Quest for the Spear—I’m really distracted by the thought.
2:46 p.m. Who would really know if I left early?
2:47 p.m. Someone would know.
2:48 p.m. I was kind of hoping the guy would talk more about gadgets of the future and not how bleak the library’s future might be.
3:40 p.m. I am never going to get those hours back.
3:51 p.m. The next lecture is about wikis. It’s the same stuff I heard in the morning.
4:40 p.m. They lost me at hello.
5:01 p.m. Finally going home!
Note: Some times and places have been changed, staggered, and/or exaggerated so as to make people believe that I did not sneak out early.
For a photo diary of my trip to the CLA conference, visit speakquietly.blogspot.com.