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Notably Quoted

It’s good for an artist to try things. It’s good for an artist to be ridiculous.
Sheila Heti in How Should a Person Be?: A Novel from Life (p. 18)

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Decanal Decorum

You never can tell. About anything, really. Don’t you think life is mostly a matter of random encounters and chances?

 

Which is a rather odd introduction to a little story of laughter and embarrassment during a time of high stress...

 

Last Tuesday evening I was attending the monthly meeting of the Board of Trustees of my college. I was there because one of the programs within my area of responsibility was going to be eliminated by action of the Board.

 

It was all high drama. People wanted to have a say in the decision...and many signed up to offer their personal testimony. Although the action item had originally been placed toward the end of the agenda, it was moved up to the beginning so the Board could take its vote while interested members of the public were still in attendance. The testimony and ensuing discussion took almost three full hours.

 

I was sitting in the back of the room. The furniture in the peanut-gallery section is notoriously uncomfortable, so I had arrived early to get a chair (and a location) that would suit me best. As the meeting got going, more and more people filled the room until it was a standing-room-only situation.

 

Ultimately, two young women were standing very close to me. I was very conscious of how tightly we were all packed in, and the high likelihood of encroaching on someone else’s personal space. The room started to get warmer and warmer, but the temperature was just right for me as I was sitting next to a very large (but closed) window – which kept cool the air in my region of the room.

 

At one point, as one of the speakers was just finishing up, another of the audience members came over to me and wanted to see if the window by me would open. I resisted, saying (quietly), “yes, but even if it does open, I’ll freeze.”

 

The very attractive (approximately 20-year-old) coed standing right next to me, who had not acknowledged me during the entire proceeding thus far, jumped right in. She put her hand on my shoulder and said (or, more accurately, announced) , “oh, don’t worry, I’ll keep you warm.”

 

I snorted. Giggled way too loudly. And blushed wildly.

 

Another speaker had already taken the microphone. Several people, in a semicircle around us, all turned our way, put their fingers to their lips, and went “shhhhhh!”

 

My face turned even more red, I’m sure.

 

When things settled down, I turned to my new, attractive, young friend and said, sincerely, “that was very funny.”

 

So much, though, for The Dean bringing any sense of Decorum to the room!

Soundtrack Suggestion

 

I don’t like you

But I love you
Seems that I’m always
Thinkin’ of you
Oh, ho, ho, you treat me badly
I love you madly
You’ve really got a hold on me

(“You Really Got A Hold On Me” – The Beatles)

Reader Comments (3)

InCREDible story! Thanks!
March 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSociologist Tina
So was the window opened or not?!

(Submitted via Facebook.)
March 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDavid
Uh, NOT. The actual window question got lost in the commotion...and after this incident, I don't think anyone even wanted to APPEAR as if they'd been part of that disruptive scene!
March 22, 2009 | Registered CommenterTechnoMonk

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