Things go wrong. I saw that vividly today … for me and other people. But it’s possible to see these deficits as no deficit at all. Please locate a human being who just soars through their days, not a care in the world, no intrusions, no smallness aimed at them – just bliss. No one that I know. How I hold the challenges is quite the other matter.
1. I was on a bus full of kids, heading to see a play at a school a half hour away. I was looking forward to the trip, sitting beside a child or two, seeing what they want to talk about. I ended up squeezed into a seat with two boys who were hunched over for the whole journey. Any guess about what they were looking at? Apart from learning their names, the contact was non-existent. I was sad. Still, my life goes on quite nicely. There will be many moments of communion before the road comes to a dead end.
2. The play was The Beauty and the Beast, presented artfully by elementary school students. Mostly, however, I couldn’t hear them. The main characters had microphones over the ear, but the sound was muffled for me until late in the proceedings. As for chorus members who had speaking parts – Good luck! So I was missing most of the verbal stuff. But the story kept unfolding in movements and facial expressions and costumes. I was not bereft of understanding but I did pout a bit.
3. One part of the set was a fireplace, and for some scenes the idea was to cover it with a dark sheet. I saw a hand appear, intending to do a full covering job, but one corner was stubborn. The stage hand pulled a little harder and the whole thing fell to the floor. He or she was no doubt aghast. After all, fireplaces don’t usually appear in the woods. Still, the assistant was putting in maximum effort to get it right. Life sometimes just doesn’t co-operate.
4. Belle is the heroine and she graced us with a lovely voice in her first song. Later on, as the plot thickened, she started coughing. For a second, I thought this was part of the script, but alas that was not true. The music swelled and I sensed it was time for a song. I was correct. Fear shot through me for her, and no doubt she was coming unglued inside. But Belle held her head high and started in on the melody. There was just one little cough in the verses. What a champion of commitment and perseverance.
5. Gaston was the dashing young hero, eager for the hand of Belle. His compatriot was really funny. At one point, this fellow retreated to the left curtain while continuing to deliver his lines. Odd. Only his head was showing. I think his microphone pack was falling apart. It looked to me that some enterprising assistant was making the necessary adjustments just out of sight. Oh, the show must go on! Soon Gaston’s friend was front and centre again, apparently unfazed by his sojourn on the periphery.
6. Later in the day, I was on an internet call for two hours with perhaps sixty other folks. If you wanted to share, you pressed “1” on the keypad. I jabbed that sucker three or four times and the leader never called on me. Lots of people got to speak – one guy three times! Arghh. What about me? I went into disaster mode, but a half hour further on, with the help of the person I was paired with then, it morphed into no big deal. Towards the end of the call, the leader called out my name and I spoke to the group as the big deal flooded back. I got to tell my story.
All these imperfections, frustrations and abominations are what life often tosses our way. In some small recess of my mind, I get that all is well. We are meant to have these blips on the radar. We are meant to be jolted, buffeted and humbled. And hopefully we get to see the world as so much richer than the moments of despair.