Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Desperate Search: Counting

(PART VI.a)Today, I happened upon the last 2/3 of "(500) Days of Summer" whilst strolling around the dial.  My mother and I both got sucked in, and before I knew it we had arrived at Autumn. 

Fun people.  In many ways they seemed akin to many of my own dramatic life instances. 

Lovely experience.  And now a word from our sponsor:

Imagine you are preparing to make a speech.  Call it your personal 'last lecture'.  Due to the circumstances, you are dressed up nicer than you ever have been.  You rustle through a stack of colored coded index cards, trying to adjust the umpteen-million tabs into the right place before you begin your speech.  The podium you stand at is just a smidgeon too short, leaving you with an inner murmur of vulnerability.  Your body is nervous, as indicated by the sweat peeling off your brow, but in your mind you know this moment is yours.

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.

To your right you notice Tom and Summer, turned and smiling politely up at you.  Summer sits next to her husband, though he is faced back trying to get a waiter's attention, so you can't quite make the shape of his face.  Tom, similarly, has brought with him the lovely Autumn.  Rumor has it that they'll be married in no time at all.  Filling out the other four seats at the table are the Guy and Girl from "Once" accompanied by their significant others.  'How sweet of them to make the flight out from Dublin,' you think.  They're good people.

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.

You set your eyes in line towards the table of enlightenment: Mr. Miyagi, Ghandi, President Roosevelt (the good one), Lincoln, your favorite professor, Atticus Finch, the dude from "Ikiru", and your second grade teacher. None of them have touched the champaign.

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?

They are here to listen to you.  They are here to listen to you because you're the most interesting person in the world.  All their stories, all their sagas, all their journeys; they all lie secondary to your life. 

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.

It's time to talk. Your mind buzzes.  All you can manage to think is, 'thereissomuchthereissomuch...'

You adjust your stance.

You clear your throat.


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