Back Row

As the breakout session ended and we prepared to return to the lecture theatre, I felt rather pleased that I had performed my writing duties successfully, and I was now looking forward to  my free tea and coffee as my reward. My feeling of great wellbeing didn’t last long.

“So… Scott, Moira, Graham, if you would like to be spokespeople when we go back to the lecture theatre”, said the facilitator. My blood ran cold. I’m utterly, utterly hopeless at verbal summings-up in public and, whilst I may have heard and recorded the whole proceedings perfectly, I wasn’t actually paying attention to the content, since writing and panicking had used up all my available brain cells. I glanced at my notes hoping for salvation, but they seemed to have been written in a foreign language by someone with short-term memory loss and very bad handwriting.

I shuffled dejectedly past the free refreshments outside the lecture theatre, having suddenly lost my appetite, and reluctantly took my place beside my fellow note takers, who were happily slurping their coffees and chatting in the prized back rows. I begged pathetically for someone else to take my place, before silently resigning myself to my fate. Only a direct asteroid strike on the Institute of Artistic Endeavour could save me now. The room hushed and another flipchart appeared on the stage, ready to receive the collective pearls of wisdom from our deliberations. As the first four spokespeople fed back, the frequent spontaneous bursts of appreciative laughter from the audience told me that they were performing with great flair. Unfortunately, from my seat at the back, I had no idea what they were saying and, in the absence of binoculars, the distant flipchart was no help either. Had my points already been covered? Help. A vision of a cat being thrown down a well flitted unhelpfully through my mind as I was invited to share the sagely thoughts of Group 5.

Suffice to say, I will never be asked to be a spokesperson again, and I am going to sit exactly where I please in future.

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3 Responses to “Back Row”


  1. 1 not quite like beethoven October 16, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Anti-climactic it may be — but if you ask me that’s rather typical for things hard of hearing. Like the morale of the story! 😉

    • 2 moiradancer October 17, 2010 at 6:06 pm

      Hopefully I’ve learned my lesson this time about being more assertive! I don’t know if the reluctance to sit at the front is just a British thing, but it drives me nuts.

      My days of blindly yielding to social pressures are officially over. Hurrah! I might even start telling people I can’t hear a bloody word they’re saying down the pub…

  2. 3 not quite like beethoven October 17, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    No, it’s not a British thing at all. It’s a question of, well, attitude. A preference for observing the events before us unfold themselves and *choosing* when, for how long and in what role to engage them.


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