Author Topic: dead man talking

sam

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dead man talking
« on: March 12, 2006 »


I seldom listen to the radio. Last night I was on it: Five Live. This was a direct result of my recent Response piece in the Guardian, which was read by a broadcast journalist who called me Friday afternoon and issued an invitation to go head-to-head with a 'petrolhead'. How could I not accept? We had a very nice chat and he said he'd get back to me. I expected maybe early next week, and set my mind to thoughts of preparation. The call came Saturday, teatime. Was tonight OK?

Tonight?

Tonight?

Much mental gibbering ensued. The alarm bells clanging in my head leaked through the handset: was I sure? Like a condemned man ordering his last meal and wondering which dessert to choose, I happily assured him I was.

I spent the next few hours reading, writing, and hyperventilating. My computer screen filled with TextEdit PostIts, meant to prompt me in the event of brain-to-mouth malfunction at a critical junction. I went for a walk in the fields surrounding acf HQ, down to the stream which burbles happily to itself at the foot of the valley. Half-convinced myself everything would be fine. Found a new appreciation for Worf, on Star Trek: Today seemed a good day to die. Briefly considered and discarded the idea of informing the forum. Did I really want witnesses? Accepted aid and comfort from my wife. Paced some more. And finally, settled into my electric chair. The call came at half ten. Was eleven ok?

Did I have a choice? The next call wouldn't be from a Governor granting clemency. It would be the real thing.

[insert description of the next 20-odd minutes]

Forgive me if I come back and fill in the blank later. [Or not.] It might take a little while to completely recollect what happened, as well as figure out how to make Windows Media Player work on my iMac so I can relive every agonising second. My first impression on finishing was that I hadn't died and gone to media heaven: that I had, instead, let the side down. There was so much more I could have said - it was right in front of me on my Mac! - but it never made it onto the medium wave. Worst of all, I didn't even manage to plug acf.

A quick email to the journalist who had contacted me ("I was a bit nervous") was met with a pleasant response. Emotionally drained, I required a fitting end to the day. It was sometime after one in the morning when, still staticky with nervous energy, I wheeled my bicycle out into the bitterly cold stadium of stars. Perchance to dream.