5.15am Alarm goes... Shower - there's only one positive - it's too early for the kids to have taken all the hot water Peck on the cheek 6.00am Taxi toots - wakes the dog Driver makes small talk - too early, I'm not even talking to myself let alone anyone else. I freeze him out
Empty streets; Wellington is stirring on a drizzly winter morning but greens all the way to the roundabout - a good start Update office voice mail from the back seat with today's date and activity 6.35am Arrive Wellington Airport, raining heavily now. My coat is back at the office. Straight through to the Koru Club, having obtained a boarding pass via my laptop last night Regular shoe clean on the Koru shoeshine machine (the receptionist tells me for the umpteenth time only me and local politician Winston Peters use it) Review litigation papers over an average cup of coffee in a quiet corner of the lounge 7.00am Go to security, I'm in luck - the line is short - the guy having a bad hair day in front has enough change, keys and assorted metal objects to get to go inside a booth with an 800lb gorilla 7.10am Flight NZ406 Front window seat 2A, slight chop at 23,000ft Decline a mineral water Continue my review of the papers - woman in 2B keeps peeking - I put her off with a withering look. Power nap until the engine pitch changes. For a moment I think the pilot has knocked the on/off switch and my heart rate spikes - it gives me the adrenaline hit I need 8.00am Gentle landing against the odds as from the pilot's voice he sounded like a learner. A quick disembark - time to grab breakfast at the Auckland lounge - I like their fruit toast 8.30am My regular driver Graham is waiting amongst a gaggle of drivers with name boards Hit the Auckland traffic; it's slow despite going a sneeky back way Awake now, we talk about Graham's latest family drama - no real answers I'm afraid 9.15am Drop off at a cafe, a block away from the law firm venue Draft my opening over a second (real) coffee and do my usual back of my pad 'standard lumps and bumps' analysis and mediator predictions for the coming day 9.45am Arrive at the law firm and change the room around. Whistle up a whiteboard and 3 different coloured pens. Can't find an eraser, I'll have to use my hankie again 10.00am Mediation 12.45pm Break for lunch - because of private discussions with each party, I get to eat my emergency muesli bar kept in my bag for such occasions 1.15pm Reconvene 2.20pm Resolution not looking likely I text home and say I probably won't be late 3.30pm Someone blinks and we get back on track 6.00pm We are writing it up, some tax wrinkles emerge but we iron them out 7.00pm Handshakes all round and the room empties quickly I indulge myself for just a moment as that feeling all mediators live for settles on my shoulder Ring a taxi - Graham has gone home to sort things out While I'm waiting, I use my Treo to take a photo of the boardroom carpet for my rather flaky series of posts on 'carpets upon which I have mediated' and hope no none is looking 7.15pm Taxi arrives I sort out the file in the back seat and return email and voice mail - great, some new jobs I text family cellphones to say I'm late/I'm tired/I love them - expecting some a like message and some sympathy. I get a reply saying 'k dat's kul' from my 13 year old, no one else bothers. 8.00pm I make the 8pm flight, front window seat again but this time have the luxury of a vacant one beside me I decline the mineral water in favour of a half hour sleep 9.00pm On landing, an effusive and high pitched 'thank you for flying with Air NZ' speech - not that there's any real choice Line of 50 taxis to choose from. I walk to the top of the queue, while the guy behind me takes the closest car prompting a sharp exchange between rival taxi companies 9.30pm In the gate. Dog goes nuts - kids underwhelmed - Susan has a smile Someone kept dinner for me. I reheat it. On the couch for the last half of Boston Legal with anyone who will join me - a bit like the opening frames of The Simpsons Gotta' love it...
Geoff Sharp is a Commercial Mediator from Wellington, New Zealand. Geoff works in the Asia Pacific region, including New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand and Pacific Islands. He is a mediator resolving business problems. He is a fellow of the International Academy of Mediators and mediates complex and hotly debated litigation covering a wide range of subject matter from insurance disputes to historic sexual abuse claims.
Geoff is author of the award winning blog mediator blah...blah... a mediation blog experiment in reflective practice and the Mediation vBlog Project, a kind of mediation genome project by video blog.