Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Driving Report 1.

It should be compulsory for everyone to do teacher training.

The running sheet looked like a cryptic crossword puzzle. The directions seemed to bear little relationship to the task. When I agreed to drive for Sean I had stressed that Brisbane was a mystery to me, an ex-Sydneyite. But all I got to guide me to unknown destinations were nicknames of businesses and sometimes a road name, not always spelled correctly.
Navman hates misspelled street names.

The hour late start from the first pick up was not an auspicious omen. The open door revealed eleven pallets of long stemmed roses double stacked to fill almost all available space plus one pallet of chilled crabs. Note that the roses were numbered eleven in a six-pallet truck. That left one pallet of roses not double stacked.

First pick up was half a dozen tubs of iced mullet (apparently being returned to the supplier and already a few days old) to be squeezed in under the odd bin of roses. Loading was delayed by fifteen minutes by a garbage truck blocking the loading bay while he worked his way through at least twenty-five bins of shop refuse while I and the fish shop bloke waited and the mullet sat in the sun. Added next were twenty-three boxes of de-boned ham which were precariously perched on top of the crabs. A cockroach would have had trouble finding an entry point.

At last, with the first drop planned, well, I did punch a street name into the GPS, I was away. But the street was long and the flower wholesaler hadn’t bothered with a street-front sign, so after missing it in the first pass and needing to go at least a K to find a place to U-turn, I rang the boss.

“It’s down the back beside a dance school or something. You’ll find it.”
Right! I couldn't miss the dance palace sign and drove in.
Nothing there except a bemused dance instructor who had no use for a million roses or pallet of mullet, so I backed all the way out, beep, beep, beep…, turned around and crept along the road, stopping at every driveway for over a kilometre until there it was, almost totally obscured by a buttress. ‘Pine Valley’ and the flowers were gone.

The mullet again sat in the sun while the roses were fork lifted out. Next time the doors were opened there was a distinct but still not overwhelming smell of mullet. One down and nineteen to go.

There are fifty-four Hope Streets in Queensland, about half in the greater Brisbane area, so the next clue, just two words, ‘Hope St’ didn’t cut it, so it was onto the phone for the tenth time at least to get more info. Sean was driving a semi himself, so was not always in phone range, so I asked Scotty. His help was not all that helpful.
“Head along until you see the pub.”
“Name of the pub?”
‘Buggered if I know, but you’ll see it. Anyway, don’t turn there, go on ‘til you see the Toyota dealer and you’re close. OK? Better still, turn at the pub and take the next left after the park...” And so it went, all confusing and time wasting.
Teachers are trained to organise information in a logical sequence and impart it in a way that is clear to the student. Some teachers don’t get it either, but at least they try.

By five that afternoon, at least ten unnecessary trips to places that didn’t exist, numerous desperate calls to Telstra ‘Call Connect’, tracking down businesses to get addresses and the fish were eventually unloaded. The remaining cargo, now too late for ‘same day’ delivery was at last not threatened by the smell.

A last call to Sean and he seemed relaxed.
“Forget it mate, just drive safely home”.
My last words to him: “If you want me to drive tomorrow, I need addresses. Like, it’s handy to know where I’m supposed to be going!”

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