GETTING READY TO INTRODUCE
THE KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Many months had passed since we had last seen one another.
Just before I formally introduced the keynote speaker to the roomful of
delegates, he turned to me and said, 'It's good to see you again. We really
need to touch base.'
It was only after I had placed my hand, lightly, against his cheek that I
heard what he actually said.
BEING SOMEONE ELSE
One morning you wake up and you're someone else. You have a different name,
and different clothes, and people look at you differently and expect
different things. At first it's all very confusing and also a little bit
troubling but after a while you realise how easy it is to become someone else
and how little of the old you you miss and how little you need to know of
yourself to go through the days and be ok.
Although he did not know it, from an early age he had confused cabbages with
leeks. When she invited him over for dinner he asked if there was anything he
could bring. Uncertain for a moment of whether she should respond in the
affirmative or the negative, she told him it would be very helpful if he
could bring some cabbage. Two days later he arrived at her apartment and gave
her four leeks, saying 'cabbage'. She took the leeks and said thank you, not
sure whether he was being funny and in which case whether she should be
laughing or whether he didn't like cabbage but had not wished to tell her
because he was too polite so that this was his way of telling her that he did
not like cabbage or that he preferred leeks to cabbage, although she thought
his assumption that she would like leeks could be considered rude and
wondered whether she should take it as such, or whether the shop he had gone
to had run out of cabbages but had plenty of leeks or perhaps had an offer on
leeks and his decision to buy leeks said that he was prudent which she had
been told was a good quality in a person although she couldn't be sure
because she had been told she did not know what it was to be prudent. Because
she was too polite she did not wish to ask why he brought leeks instead of a
cabbage although she wondered what she was supposed to do with a leek when
she had asked for a cabbage.
ROUNDTABLE IN THE AFTERNOON
Things took a bit of turn when he finished his talk. Someone in the audience
was shaking the heat from their cufflinks and said the disenfranchised would
have something else to say entirely and mindfully distressed their leather
sole shoes. Another person stood up and said he didn't do author photographs
because he was a Marxist. This was quickly followed by a moving tribute by an
elderly gentleman in short sleeves about time and the tragic beauty of
forgotten careers. Only the desks know the true sadness of corporations, he
said, and how the vagaries of scheduling can make or break a reputation.
Someone near the back tried unsuccessfully to stifle some errant wind and I
wondered whether they had had the coronation chicken at lunch as well.
ON THE INVISIBLE
It's no good; I can't see it.