This morning at the ungodly hour of 3 AM I got out of bed and put on my fancy librarian pants to hop on a plane to Omaha for the 2010 MOLA conference. I'm this year's intern, which means in addition to attending the breakout sessions I'm also working on whatever tasks they set me up with. I'm here to support Jessica Slais, the host librarian from Omaha Symphony, and she & her colleagues have done such an awesome job organizing the event that my tasks have been ... well, what you would expect of an intern: checking in registrants, moving signs around, passing out paperwork. Busy, but relatively menial. (I'm not at all complaining). They've been a great way to meet everybody, although I've met so many people I can't keep them straight! Luckily, they understand.
It's nearly midnight and I've been up since 3 AM, so what I want to tell you is short and sweet: I'm still having a hard time believing that all those people -- you know, the ones who were milling about at tonight's reception, holding drinks, chatting -- do exactly the same strange little job I do. In fact, I've been trying all day to let the idea sink in. Some librarians, as they came to the registration table to get their packet, made jokes about how hard it was not to bring bowings this weekend. We talked about erasers. YOU GUYS. WE TALKED ABOUT ERASERS.
I spent most of my evening tonight talking to Kit Dodd, the head librarian at Syracuse Symphony. While I was at SU, he was the assistant. I knew his name as well as the names of almost every other player. I told him tonight that when we were in school we used to joke about how great it would be to have collectible baseball-style cards for the symphony players; how we would have eaten it up. ("We've considered that, actually," he replied). We talked about the SSO conductors, about all the musicians I remember, about the town. It was AWESOME. It's Kit's first year at the conference too, though he's been working in the library for 17 years, so it was so great to have someone to hang out with. He went to U of Oregon; I went to SU. He remembered eating brunch at a place in Portland; after a few minutes of trying to figure it out by type of food ("really good .. breakfast burrito? great coffee?") we finally figured it out by location: Cricket Cafe, one of our brunch club's favorites.
I guess the weird, alien-universe-ness of this -- being surrounded by people who don't need an explanation about what it is I do from day to day -- will eventually subside. In the meantime, it's pretty amazing. I commiserated with Shannon, a librarian from Dallas Opera, about the excruciating pain of bowing a set of parts with very little time. "I had a tension headache the whole time," she said, of bowing a world premiere in just a few weeks. God, don't I know it. For a week bowing Barber my wrist hurt so bad I couldn't bend it past 15 degrees. SOMEONE GETS IT!
Now it's midnight, and I'm going to flop into my giant king sized bed and watch awesome, crappy cable on one of the two TVs in my room.