Your audience is vast. You count four upper decks, but you can't see how far back those sections travel; the nosebleeds and the vanishing point merge before you can realize the depth of the theater. You feel a sudden slap of vertigo staring into that point of convergence.
To snap back into action you adjust your vision to those seated most closely to your person. The first two hundred feet long and wide are busy with round tables. Each table sits eight people. Waiters in three piece attire mull about pouring out bubbly to any glass half empty. At the table nearest you on the left sit your parents -- it doesn't matter if they are alive or dead, good or bad, somehow they've made it, and you offered them the best seats in the house. Around them are other family members; the most dear seated at this first table, and others in subsequent tables behind them.
Behind that table, we've got William Wallace in full blue-face paint, John McClain, bare-chested Conan the Barbarian, Alanis Morisette (for obvious reasons), and four iterations of Bruce Wayne.
On and on they go.
A shout in German from the far right distracts your attention for a moment. You spy Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Hannibal Lecter, Jeffrey Dahmer, Magneto, your fourth grade bully, and a whole host of other insiduous characters all smashed into one table. There might be twenty in all crammed into that small table. Upon closer inspection, it appears Hitler is raising all the bupkis on account of the waiters coming nowhere near said table. You chuckle at the proposition of Hitler being denied champaign at a function such as this, although, you must admit to yourself, the man cleans up well.
A set of eyes catches your breath. Those lights lock in. You're trapped already. This is the table of lost loves. The ones that got away from you -- all smirking about you. They're a mix of lost lovers, wannabe lovers, and long gone best friends. Their smiles deceive in such a way that even now you may fall victim to their eyes. You can choose to read into those faces -- you can choose to see hope. You know better. You look away.
Beyond the tables are row after row after row. There are thousands of them, rows. Every row holds faces that have some sense of familiarity. Before you walked up to the podium, you recall how your assistant (that annoying smiley guy from "30 Rock") informed you that every row held the faces you met that day. That's why some rows are wider than others. Every face you ever locked eyes on, every name you were ever introduced to -- they are all here.
Why the myriad? Why the devastatingly huge crowd? Why?
And so it is your time to speak. There are nearly 7 billion people living in the world. How many are here, at this place, listening to you now? A hundred thousand, maybe? Perhaps double that? At most one million. This, this room that is barely conceivable, it is but one star in a clear sky night.
Remember, you are the one they want to hear. You are, apparently, worthy of being listened to.
You rustle through your index cards one more time before disregarding them. They are worthless at times as momentous as this. One should not rely on cards when caught up in such a situation.
You adjust your stance.
You clear your throat.