Wednesday, September 03, 2008

"just wake up!"

after my moving time in the session on gay marriage, i wandered into the debate i was supposed to moderate. there were a number of new faces, and i looked forward to hearing what people had to say about the conflict in south ossetia and georgia. i certainly didn't know very much!

almost immediately it became clear that we had a heckler, and the night was going to be a bit tense. to my right sat an old man, with wispy white hair, giant, thick glasses, and a penchant to refill his wine glass every 10 minutes, all the way to the brim. 

the drunk old man was clearly dissatisfied with pretty much everyone in the room. he would mutter, sometimes quite loudly, saying things like "oh god..." or "stupid stupid stupid." i tried to quiet him down a few times, but then realized that ignoring him was probably the best mode of attack.

at the end of the debate, we go around the room and see who supports, rejects or abstains on the resolution before the group. when we got to drunk old man, he said he had only one thing to say, something that was said to him by his mentor aldous huxley (he seemed to toss that one in there). he said "wake up!" and he kept saying it, quite loudly. "just wake up! everyone in this room." 

i reminded him that "wake up" was not one of the options we typically give at this point in the debate, but, when he said he had no other opinion to offer i reminded the house that we don't force a decision on anyone. so i gently put his shouts of "wake up!" to bed and finished the debate, withstanding a few more "oh gods.." from drunk oldy

at the end of the debate, our old, drunk friend had to be helped out.

wake up!

1 comment:

Aki-ism said...

Good job moderating the debate last night, and it was nice meeting you, Omar!

I do not know what that old curmudgeon contributed to the debate except for sporadic spurts of cynicism (I didn't speak much so who am I to say...) but at least, we can make "wake up!!" an inside joke among SF Debate participants!!