Sunday, January 2, 2011

Le Tigre Timide

An odd dream, leaving me annoyed, confused, chuckling...

Our campus was holding a TED-like event of its own. A first of its kind, the Chancellor had decided that our finest academicians and students would give talks to all the world's leaders. Politicians, business icons, media darlings and star journalists were all invited. The best of the world's brightest were given front row seats to the symposiums of their choice.

As a staff employee, I of course worked behind the scenes but decided to volunteer as an usher for one of the symposiums that piqued my interest. The one training meeting we had had me alternating between staying put and walking out. The speaker, a renowned psychologist, came out to greet the trainees after too long leaving us to our own interests. He walked in and flippantly asked us to queue up in a line, then randomly chose three from the line to step forward.

I was one of three. He instructed us such, "the stage is a clock, and the audience are at 12 o'clock. You will be at ten, you will be at two, and you will be at four." I was at "ten". The oddity of his proclamation left me wondering if the good doctor would hand me a favored bubbly beverage, and have me laughing out loud or shaking my head in disappointment at the obvious. Regardless, his manner shortly thereafter had me looking around with eyebrows raised.

"When you come on stage, stay put. Do not move from your appointed spot on the stage no matter what happens. If you cannot do that, then leave now so another can take your place." He waited for only five seconds, then pointed at me and asked me to repeat the instructions.

"Once I step on stage," I responded, "I go to my spot at ten o'clock and will not move from that spot no matter what." He nodded his head in satisfaction, pointed to "Two", who repeated something similar, then pointed to "Four" who did the same.

"Good," he said, "now get out of my sight." And with that, he walked out of the room, leaving me perplexed even after "Two" mentioned that as a repeat student of the good doctor, one could be assured there would be more than one Easter Egg before the end of the symposium.

As an usher, my job was to carry a flashlight and guide people to/from their seats. I marveled at the famous whom I assisted, and for whom I illuminated their path. I recognized several without looking at their name tags, while others I didn't quite know but understood the gravity of the titles under their names. When the last bell rang, and the lights dimmed, I, Two and Four took up our places on stage.

I positioned myself so that I could near-to-imperceptibly turn my head to watch the speaker or view most of the audience. I noticed that Two tried to do the same, whereas Four could do both with ease. We waited in the dark for what seemed too long. I suppose a minute went by before I realized that there was a fuzzy sound coming from the stage speakers, and then I recalled that Four had told me during our training meeting that the doctor used white noise to relax and focus the students during exams or experiments.

Still, it seemed an inordinately long wait, and I could hear people shifting uncomfortably in their seats until the sound of a door creaked open, and a light shone on the stage. The professor walked out from behind the curtain, wearing khaki's and a polo, and carrying a golf club (a 9-iron I think).

He simply walked out to center stage, ignoring the applause. He leaned down and placed a yellow golf ball on the floor, and queued himself up to the ball. The club hovered behind the ball as he set his stance, feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, head down and eyes concentrating on the target and trajectory. He jockeyed the club to and fro just a bit, then took two steps back.

Still in position and fully concentrating on the ball, he took a practice swing. I looked when I heard a gasp from the audience and saw the shadow of at least one person beginning to stand. Looking back, the good doctor seemed impervious to the reactions he had caused. He was completely ignorant of the nerves he had aroused. It was as if he didn't even know the audience existed.

As he took another practice swing, I looked back at the audience and wondered if he had tried this beforehand and would be able to lob the ball above and beyond the upward angle of the highest seats in the back. I had my doubts.

Turning back to the doctor, I saw him concentrating on the ball, then dipping his chin, he stepped up to the ball and set his club. His stance was exactly the same as his practice swings, and I could hear someone in the audience mutter out loud what I had just thought.

A funny feeling came over me. I turned my body away from the audience to purposefully face the doctor, but stood exactly on my ten spot on the stage. He seemed not to notice my movement. I watched him begin his swing, which did not slow even as it began it's downward plunge from the top of the arc.

That funny feeling visited all my emotions at once. My counterpart at "two" ducked to the floor. Four had a look of terror on her face. Several in the audience behind me were scrambling to get out of the way. Yet there I stood, as still as a 'possum. And on impact with the club head, the golf ball exploded into a flash of dust...

<word count: 970>

1 comment:

Parabolic Muse said...

I thought I read this!? But I don't remember it.

I'm going to read it now.

If you do want a little feedback, the first thing I saw on starting to read was.... it's is not a possessive. It means It Is. The possessive form of it does not have an apostrophe.

Are you watching Dr. Who?

I'm going to print this now and read it. And it better continue somewhere. Unless it's not a story at all and I misunderstood...