I don’t know what reaction I was expecting. An understanding smile? A glimmer of empathy in his eyes? I really don’t know. What I did receive however, was a cold, empty “You-have-got-to-be-kidding” stare.
Reluctantly leaving the Alternative Dimension and slinking back to ResignationLand, I proceeded to stammer to the audience something along the lines of, “Mark Strand is a great poet. He writes great poetry. We think he’s great. It’s great he’s here tonight.” I pivoted toward Strand, preparing myself to have a go at his response. The withering stare that met me, was not unexpected. I had known for several minutes now that I was in over my head, and now he did too.
This torment went on for well over an hour. I did find though, as the interview progressed, that Strand’s understanding of Italian miraculously seemed to improve immensely, as did the journalist’s understanding of English, and I was slowly and subtly relieved of duty. But I was still unmitigatedly trapped on that stage. So, for the last leg of the endeavor, I initiated my Cranial-Auto-Gyrator, so that when either Strand or the journalist would speak, my head would rotate in the direction of whichever voice I heard, giving the appearance that I was actually listening to what they had to say. For good measure, I also applied the OTHTLORIAIF Program (that is, the “Occasionally Tilt Head To Left Or Right In An Interested Fashion” Program), so as to give the illusion of being touched by, or involved with, the flow of words that came from either man. In reality, I was actually engaged in an exquisite out-of-body-experience, far, far, faaaar away from that whole scene.% | % | % | % | % | % | % | % | % | % | % | % | % | %