The microphone sits prominently on the table in front of me, and the only thing I can focus on is an intense desire to repeatedly clear my throat. I'm in a panel interview about excellence in communication that's being recorded for a University podcast, and, in my own mind, my mere presence seems entirely incongruous.
I'm the woman who less than twelve hours ago asked my oldest daughter to please take her plate off the kitchen table and put it in the washing machine. I'm the woman who confuses my husband with ambiguous requests like, "Could you pick up that thing and put it on that other thing?" I'm the woman who regularly is corrected by my three-year-old when I call breakfast dinner and dinner lunch. I'm the woman who starts verbalizing a thought, gets partially through it, and then bails, as if my words were autumn leaves dropping off tree branches, careening through the air on unseen winds, plummeting to their descent in swirling unpredictability.
And I'm the woman who's discussing excellence in communication?
The irony doesn't escape me.
I fold my hands in my lap. Focus, Robin, focus! This is for posterity! With each response, I work to avoid backing myself into a rhetorical corner, making up new words, or inserting malapropisms that will demonstrate the incoherence that I so often demonstrate during my interactions around my own house.
And I made it through -- without even clearing my throat. I haven't brought myself to listen to the entirety of the podcast, but I'm pretty sure I was just fine. Articulate, even.
Good thing, too, because when I returned home I asked my children to put their feet on their shoes so we could run errands that morning. I mean, that afternoon.