I edged around the sides at first, thinking I might be able to get inside and nab a seat, be largely unnoticed, but I saw a small pool of my peers hanging out by the refreshments and laughing over mozzarella kabobs. I saw a basket filled with assorted crackers and eyed my favorite snack ever: those sweet little brown digestive wafers! Any shame I had flew out the fancy windows as I picked through the basket and elderly women in cocktail dresses sullenly snorted "excuse me" into my behemoth knapsnack.
I had a pretty rad realization. "Hey," I thought, "I am who is supposed to be here." I am a student, getting my degree at this educational institution. The lovely people surrounding me were all very respectful of the man we came to hear, of the event itself, but I was actually in the first on this one. I have a big heavy backpack because I'm at school all day working and learning. I wear cozy clothes because I make peanuts and I drive a scooter that gets everything I don a little bit dirty. It was okay to be me. I felt good. I wondered if I ever mentally hold people to standards they weren't meant to meet. "I'll try to be better," I resolved.
Greenblatt was Greenblah. The man, the myth gave a (what I consider) a half-hearted look at storytelling and aging, mostly via King Lear. It was eh and my middle-age I-Teach-Persuasive-Speaking peer texted me during it, "Where are his signposts?" Everyone's a critic.
I didn't stay for Q & A. He hadn't charmed me enough. As I skittered out I noticed a table of assorted cookies for a post-talk reception. The tray was barely big enough to feed a fourth of the people in the room. I considered leaving the treats for the real academics of the night who stayed until the bitter end. But then I saw the most delicious-looking black and white cookie I've ever laid eyes on, so I scooped it up and gnawed at it as my peers and I walked back to our respective vehicles, laughing into the Arizona dusk.