You know, that last post was supposed to be about the dinner I attended this week. Perhaps you’ve noticed my writing strategy: I start with an anecdote, then transition to my bigger point. The formula I’ve advocated to many applicants to grad programs in the humanities struggling to hack out a personal statement, in fact. Occasionally, however, that anecdote drives me to distraction. (Hm, I wonder if I could take a sherut there?)
Here goes. After lunch, I step out of the building into the bright heat of noontime, and spot a glimmer before me. It’s a whirr of iridescence: a hummingbird, purple and green, dipping its beak, then settling on a branch only to ascend once again, frenetic, gorgeous. If I had my camera, I would have stood there snapping away like I did upon finding a veritable flock of colibrís on Cerro Santa Lucia in Santiago.
But I don’t, so I just stop and stare. It’s just the two of us for this moment. Then a group comes out behind me, loud and gregarious. I start, then depart. I can hear them exclaiming at the hummingbird–oh, look!–and also wishing they had their cameras.
This may come as a shock to you, but I’m not much of a socialite. Put me in a room where I’m expected to mingle with a bunch of acquaintances and strangers, and I will keep an eye fixed on the nearest exit. Even slightly formal dinner gatherings pose a series of challenges, particularly the threat of mistakenly feeding my lap instead of my mouth.
But even I couldn’t help but get a little excited at an invitation to dine with a large group of colleagues.
So, after descending the terrace stairs down to Ben Gurion street (which perturbed my leg muscles, making them tremble in protest), with a sheen of perspiration over the makeup I’d applied eleven hours earlier, I found myself in a tastefully appointed flat in the company of about thirty coworkers.
After we finished eating with plates delicately balanced upon our knees (I am proud to say that the only food that escaped me was a shred of spinach that jumped onto my foot), it was proposed that we go around and introduce ourselves, and say how our position contributed to our common mission of preservation.
I listened to the professional, expansive responses of a few veteran staff members, racking my brain as to how to shape my sundry jobs into a coherent statement. I came up with a simple response, and several days later, I’m still trying to figure out what exactly it is I do!