Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Post 3116 - A Long Time Ago

Past 9pm.

Had Toastmasters tonight. We had a really good meeting. Two members gave their Ice Breaker speech, where they talk about themselves for 4-6 minutes. Both speeches were excellent, and I had a hard time to vote for just one as best speaker. Turns out that other members were torn, too, because they tied for best speaker. Awesome.

We also had Table topics tonight. As I have explained before, that is when you are, with little or no preparation, given some subject, and you have to develop a 1-2 minute little speech about it. Tonight, mine turned out to be, "What moment in your life would you change if you could go back in time and change it?" And I told a story that I had never told to anybody before in my life, any time, ever.

I thought I would share it with you. It does not cast me in a particularly good light. It will reveal things about me that I would prefer to keep close; but I trust you not to tell anyone. Do we have a deal? Good.

This goes back nearly 30 years. I was at Acadia, and I was taking the one English class that I would take. It was the Fantasy course, which alternated with the Science Fiction course. We had to read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy by Tolkien and a good half dozen books about the King Arthur legend. The professor had an Arthurian fetish.

I had no idea how it worked, how students would get the reading list ahead of time and build up a head of steam so they would be caught up in time for each class. I had a full course load as it was. I would do my core courses, and then retire to the small student lounge in the main floor of the Beverage Arts Centre and read as much material as I could cram into my head. These were long days, and there is no way I could maintain that kind of schedule now.

I hated LotR. I found the writing style ponderous and bloated and about as interesting as kissing one's sister. I know that millions of people have been captivated by that series, but I wasn't. I had to buy other books that told me who the characters were. By contrast, the Arthur books were more compelling to me. I still remember passages from some of them. And I will one day re-read Thomas Berger's "Arthur Rex", easily the funniest novel I have ever read in my life. I eventually acquired a hardcover edition, and it sits behind me on one of my bookshelves, here in my home office.

My eye sight has always been not that great, so I tended to sit close to the front of the classroom. I'm left-handed, so I gravitated toward the left hand side of the room.

A young woman started to sit behind me, and from time to time we would chat. She asked to borrow my notes one time, and even called me to ask me what my hen scratches were supposed to mean. She seemed friendly, but I never took it to be anything more than that: someone being friendly.

The day of the final exam came. It was in the morning. She sat one row ahead of me, just to my left. She smiled at me and informed me where she was sitting, as if I had to be told.

Nearly three hours later, I put my pen down, passed in my exam, and left. I had another exam that afternoon and had to go to that.

I never saw that girl again.

All these years later, the memory comes back to me from time to time. Was I a fool to ignore her, to dare think she might be interested in me; or was I wise not to pursue this potential opportunity? I will never know, and not knowing is a handful of crackers that do not settle well in my soup.

If I had this to relive, I would hang around, explain to whatever her name was that I had to rush off to another exam, but could we perhaps meet for coffee at a later date? If she wasn't interested, then at least I would know that and not have had this regret for all these years.

I can still imagine her in my mind's eye. She was a cutie.

I hope that her life has been agreeable to her. I hope she met a fella who made her happy, and that if she wanted children, that she had them. I hope that my walking away from her that day in April of 1986 did not cause her much upset, and that if it did, that it went away quickly. And, I hope that she eventually reads this blog post. 

So, that is one thing in my life that I would love to re-live, to change, and to see how it would play out. It might have gone somewhere. Or it might have gone nowhere at all. I hate not knowing.

What thing in your life would you like to re-live?

See you tomorrow.


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