He seemed a very nice man, knowledgeable too. But as a public speaker he lacked certain skills one would usually group under the heading *essential*.
To wit: the ability to speak clearly; to finish sentences rather than tailing off in a self-deprecating mumble leaving the audience with a series of confusing non sequiturs; to explain the slides that seemed to have little or no connection with what he was saying; to show said slides the right way round.
Being able to speak without clearing his throat every three or four words would have been a plus too, but to be honest by the end of the evening I had more or less got used to that.
He wasn’t helped by the burglar alarm that continued unabated for well over an hour of his talk, nor by the Chair’s mobile ‘phone beeping. The odd ambulance siren screaming down the road merely added to the general confusion.
I sat beside D, someone I trained with years ago. Every now and then we looked at each other in disbelief, but when giggles threatened to overcome us we adopted the eyes front option as the only means of survival.
When it was over, and there was a gruelling Q&A session first – gruelling for me because I had been working at home all day, having hot drinks and glasses of water fairly constantly, with the net result that by the evening I needed the loo urgently pretty frequently – we spilled out into the street like fourteen-year-olds; a bubble of almost indecent laughter bursting from us when we were barely ten yards from the venue.
I’ve still got that explosive feeling in my chest from suppressing my urge to flee and scream hysterically. These are the moments when I understand why we talk about needing to let off steam.
Time to regulate my breathing and prepare for sleep while MasterB roams the garden. Celia was supposed to be attending too, but babysat instead. I think I know who had the more satisfying evening.