TechEd is about so much more than the sessions and the parties. It's about spontaneous conversations on the bus, in the meal hall, or while waiting somewhere with groups of people. It's about watching other people react to learning something you've known for months or years. It's about finally getting around to learning something yourself that you never had time for. But that's not the whole of it for me.
Three little vignettes are kicking around my head this morning. The first is a memory from another TechEd, in Barcelona three years ago. I remembered this when I was ironing my speaker shirts for this year. In Barcelona, the hotel rooms had no irons in them, so I was headed to the speaker room in a TShirt to iron my speaker shirt. On the way Juval told me this joke:
A group of people are on a plane when the engines cut out and the pilot asks everyone to brace themselves for an emergency landing. There is some screaming and crying, then a woman stands up and yells "we're all going to die! Is there no-one on this plane who can make me feel like a woman one more time?" At that a man in the last row jumps to his feet and runs toward her. As he runs down the aisle he rips off his shirt revealing a handsome physique. She is beaming and the other passengers are distracted from their impending doom. When he reaches her row, he throws the shirt at her and says to her "Quick, IRON THIS!"
This year's TechEd memory will have to be the hotel evacuation Wednesday night. I have heard many variations on the story from those of us who were there, including people who tried to answer their phones, turn off their alarms, and so on. I also enjoyed sharing stories of what we grabbed. I put my laptop in my bag -- after all I still have a session to give -- and threw a few other things in quickly, but left my power supply and other things that would take more than a quick grab. And you better believe I slipped my shoes on and grabbed my badge, where I keep my hotel key. It was a long slow shuffle all the way down from the tenth floor, but I wasn't worried... I couldn't smell or hear anything unusual so I was pretty sure there wasn't much wrong. Turns out a water leak drew down the pressure enough to disable the sprinkler system, and that meant we all needed to get out.
And today's surreal news, from the conference site:
Information About Limited Measles Outbreak in Boston
The Tech·Ed 2006 Planning Team wants to inform you that there has been a small outbreak of measles in the Boston downtown area. The majority of the known cases have been in workers from the John Hancock building in downtown Boston who were not inoculated with the MMR vaccine or had not been exposed to the virus as children. While the risk of exposure to the measles virus while at Tech·Ed is extremely low, the best prevention against the virus is to ensure you have been inoculated. If you are not sure if you have been inoculated, contact your health care provider. Thank you.
I've already had measles, so I'm not worried.