[nobe-l] New THOUGHT PROVOKER #138- In a Crowded Place

Robert Newman newmanrl at cox.net
Wed Oct 29 02:18:42 UTC 2008

RE:  In a Crowded Place 

The newest THOUGHT PROVOKER is about crowded and/or noisy environment and
how we the blind function in them. Many of us have voiced a frustration of
having to get around and to network in that type of setting. I'm looking for
suggestions on how we deal with it. If you have not read the PROVOKER, it
follows.  Recall that I collect responses and post them upon my web site for
all the WWW to read and learn from and that URL is-
Http://thoughtprovoker.info <http://thoughtprovoker.info/>   If you wish to
receive THOUGHT PROVOKERS sent directly to you, just write me and ask, at-
newmanrl at cox.net 

In a Crowded Place

"It's been a hard day's night ---" The familiar lyrics rode the crest of the
wave of sound washing over me as I opened the door to the hotel bar and I
knew too well what the next hour or so would bring in terms of
communication. Sigh.  The event was my 40-year class reunion. I was here to
find my party, eight guys, my remaining teammates from our senior year
champion wrestling team. We'd start out in the bar and later move to the
larger gathering.

Inside, weaving my way among the scattered tables, I moved from one island
of sound to another, I figure my guys will grab me when I am spotted.
Chances of me finding them in this environment are slim to none.  The crowd
is fluid; people standing, sitting, walking about, so the auditory stimuli
are coming from every direction. 

"Robby boy!" the booming, beer-soaked voice directed down upon the top of my
head had to be Harley, the former heavyweight wrestler, sweeping me up into
his, now, even weightier embrace. "Com'on, little --- we're over here in
---. Let's get you a --- one." I didn't need to have heard all he said, his
firm grip and drink happy mood carried me along.

"Rob!" "Hey Bat Man how yaa ---" "Bat Ma --- oh invincible one!" A chorus of
greetings met me at the table. (All of us had special nicknames back in the
day.  Bat Man had been mine but I'd not heard it spoken aloud for years.
Harley had been Elephant Man.")

Seated next to Thomas (alias Spider Man), a friend I'd not seen in person
for nearly 20 years, I asked,  "So Tom, how's life?" Leaning forward,
positioning my ear to be at the best angle to hear his responses.

"Hey Rob," Super Man's voice projected across the table. It was Jeff, the
once team captain. "The lady wants to take your order." And thinking she was
behind, between Tom and me (where I had felt something touch me), I voiced
my order.

"Rob --- " Jeff yelled again, "she's over here! Ha, and I think she read
your lips --- a draw, right?"  I gave him a thumbs up.

Getting back to Tom, I said, "Whatever happened to that motorcycle you had?"
Not getting an answer, leaning closer I could tell he was engaged to someone
off to his right. Turning to my left to talk to John, the once smallest guy
on the team, nicknamed Invisible Man, I found him laughing it up with people
at his end of the table.

After a couple of rounds of drinks and several broken conversations with my
former teammates, consensus came to move ourselves to the banquet room.  We
made a short stop at that room's cash bar; then, glass in hand, I started
mixing and mingling prior to sitting down to dinner and speeches.

The music playing in the banquet room came from a string quartet and wasn't
going to be a problem. The room was large, had high ceilings, a carpeted
floor, and was set up with enough round tables to seat 1,000. Right off I
ran into a former girlfriend; we hugged and got caught up. 

Free again, I went on the prowl for other old friends. I used the location
of the music as a point of reference, moving through the scattering of
tables, listening for any voice I recognized or for someone to yell out my
name. There were small groups standing and talking or already seated and
visiting. I'd catch a word or phrase as I passed, even stopping a few times
to insert myself into the group's space only to find that I didn't know
them. People, people everywhere, and no one I know to be found anywhere.
Not even finding my old wrestling buddies, I got more assertive, stopping
the next person walking by. "Hi, could I ask if you have seen ---" and this
guy answers, "May I get you another drink, sir? I'm one of the banquet

Robert Leslie Newman 
Email- newmanrl at cox.net

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