Monday, September 27, 2010

The Encounter


The Apple of Discord, it floated in on pearly strings; there was tension in the air, a social time bomb that would soon incinerate all around it in a holocaust of biblical proportions.
For once, I understood the true meaning of the phrase “a pregnant silence”. This was going to be Armageddon; have you ever seen that look in a man’s eyes when he’s beaten down to the point of no return, past which all there is would be sheer animal rage?
Well, I hadn’t, and I was lucky in that I would not only be the witness to such ferocity of emotion but also the target of it. Poor, unlucky, depressed me, to be subjected to a coup de grace of nuclear dimensions. There is a certain adjective that comes to me when I write about situations like this. For lack of modesty, I will say that there is no lack of adjectives when I choose to wax eloquent, but that is our failing as a member of the tribe of Writers; while we may counsel and talk long and deep on subjects we know not an iota about, in that selfsame situation where our character comes out not only alive and well but also smiling, feeling like a million dollars, and even with an attractive member of the opposite sex, we will emerge (if that happy opportunity is ours) dishevelled, dry and utterly exhausted, wondering how so much bad juju may happen on such a beautiful day.
It is situations like these that tend to cause a memory gap; subconsciously we are punishing ourselves to the extreme by forgetting life’s little lessons, all in the name of human forgetfulness- so that we may repeat our mistakes time and again to the very extent of stepping elegantly and gracefully into the same brouhaha from which we fail to find a way out of.
This was one of those roles wherein the best way out is also the worst way- truth may work wonders, but truth is a bitter medicine to swallow and harder to administer. Nine times out of five we will retort with a sombre and deeply contrite demeanour or mayhap if our skills extend to the bluffing levels of a poker face, provide a soothing falsetto and facade to emerge, if not victorious (of course not) then at least with satisfaction and solace in that we have managed to stave off whatever danger was presented until a later day. Which brings us back to square one with the addendum of perhaps a litre more of perspiration on various parts of the skin, nervousness that falls upon the fear-sodden mind like a ton of bricks, and a feeling of utter hopelessness that pervades all five senses...
Experience is a bad teacher. Logic at such times proves to be an excellent ally, providing a strong defense along the lines of “yes, this is my mistake; no, I intend not to repeat it once more, on pain of death- and I vow to excel in my pursuits and not allow any more obstacles to lengthen my road.” Of course, in the face of such opposition that I stood before, and comparing this answer to the question, a single syllable that pierceth the armour of logic as a missile would a haystack, the situation was grim to the point of laughable, nay, fatal, even.
My friend reader, I have been amiss; in my description of my emotional pandemonium I omitted the cause of my worry, and a most distressing cause it is indeed.
That cause matches accurately the dimensions of paper you will find at any stationery vendors, which that most busy of vendors will use to print this very description; it is plasticised, and stylized, and boldly gilded, to protect from the elements four; on its visage exists a code that could destabilize your world, to say nothing of your life; turn it over and you will find the means to decode what you wish was gibberish; study it for a minute, and you will recognise the crushing weight on your shoulders followed by a rictus of rage and the boot of retribution respectively.
That agent provocateur, in the truest sense of the phrase, is stamped with the bold headline: “Academic Assessment” and for those who believe in the axiom of brevity’s equality to wit: the almighty “Report Card,” the coin of academic performance that I have played for a fool and now proceeds to return the favour tenfold with added interest and a quarterly bonus to boot.
Amen, semper fi, au revoir, and there the tail droops between the legs in defeat utmost and crushing.