What do speed dating, the first African-American ambassador to the UN, and slam poetry have in common?
As time ticks devastatingly on and my exchange semester nears its end, it becomes increasingly difficult to express the details of what is forming itself into one melded web of good times in my head. In an attempt to differentiate and describe, I thought I’d focus on three diverse and equally enjoyable events, just part of one week, out of one month, of my four in Boston. Read along, see what you think, and multiply to imagine what the rest of the semester’s been like!
Standing before me is Andrew Young, the man who stood next to Martin Luther King Junior the day he was shot. They were part of a movement who he says had to “struggle to save black men’s bodies, and white men’s souls”. And yet there can’t be more than thirty people who have showed up to his free lecture, as part of Ambassador week. I am upset at this, at the apathy. But he seems utterly unfazed, and speaks to us with a warmth, honesty and enthusiasm that makes it seem worthwhile just for these few ears. He talks in an informal manner, making it hard to tell he’s probably done this to thousands of audiences for almost 40 years. He is practical rather than just idealistic, highlighting the fact that enlightened self-interest in the business community is one of the best protectors of human rights. He is also deeply religious, but gives economic and political motives too. But the best bit about it? When he tells us with a chuckle that a young Mr. King once got a C in public speaking and preaching – giving us the encouragement we need to have a dream!
Oh my, just remembered have signed up to speed dating tonight. Well the week can’t all be serious now can it? Cannot back out either as have convinced others to join me as wingmen. Also secretly hoping to find man of dreams. Eeeek how does this whole thing work?
Just Googled speed-dating tips. Am equipped with what not to say (“If you were an axe murderer, where would you keep the bodies?”), and feeling confident. Now must make self look decent and put on face.
Dressed to kill. Yay for roommates' wardrobes. Have successfully avoided “what Eiseman calls ‘squished caterpillar yellow-green’, which is said to repel both sexes equally”. Thank god for Google.
Enter the pub. Realise this is a bad idea. I work at and frequent the pub. So do all these people. Arrrgh - no escape!
Having fun! There are rose petals, candles, and Hershey’s kisses on the tables. Mmmm Hershey’s kisses. Haven’t even needed to throw in “Did you know that the glue on Israeli postage stamps is certified kosher?” – a suggested conversation starter. Wasn’t convinced by that one anyway.
Exit pub stage left… complete with confidence boost, wobbly walk & three potential dates!
Arrive at poetry reading. Arty types are perched lovingly on couches and the floor around the room, their faces dimly lit by the stage lights. A lone microphone waits in anticipation.
I feel as if I have been dragged through the emotional plane. Embarrassment, laughter, then that thing you get that’s somewhere in between. Fear, depression, joy, shock, and the words keep washing over me….
Feeling so empowered right now. Think will go home and start my anthology. And practice clicking (apparently poets don’t clap). Peace out.
Not a bad week, if you’re up for inspiration, flirtation & contemplation!