How I Spent My Evening; or Three Hours (including travel) I Shan’t See Again

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. Continue reading