I knew from the outset that we'd be crowded in tightly. A 101 people in 101 chairs in a room that is designated to hold, at maximum, 100. Being the speaker, I always get the best seat with lots of room. Getting to a lecture hall early is part of my way of dealing with the nerves and anxiety which are naturally part of the 'speaking experience'. I got set up, my notes laid out, and then chatted with people as they came in. Though it looks like just a friendly exchange, the chit chat serves to 'humanize' the audience, another trick to ease into the transition from being a private person to a public speaker.
Typically the room fills from the back and here in New Westminster, it's no different. Then as we get closer to the start a woman comes in and sits almost directly in front of me in the first row. I smile at her and glance at her nametag to see where she is from. But her name catches me. Her first name is "Comfort" what an awesome name. I immediately think of those people I've met whose names match the profession, not the person. There's Dr. Dickie and Dr. Finger, both who work in sexuality. There's Dr. Payne, the dentist. Don't forget Dr. Money (who once bought a Mercedes convertable on his credit card).
But, I have to say, Comfort beats them all. I joked with her that her name is perfect for working in this field. She smiled but did not laugh. She said that it was hard to have to live up to her name, that there were days where she wanted to be anything but comforting - that on those days she had to conciously work to 'be' what her name called her to be.
We chatted occasionally through the day and I wondered if 'gentle' was her middle name. I called her up near the end and asked if I could write about her and her name in my blog today. She readily agreed.
So after the session Joe and I went to the market that's attached to the hotel. It's got small stalls where they sell trinkets and food and other such stuff. It is a browsers heaven. In the end I bought nothing more than a tea and we sat outside watching people walk by on the boardwalk. Joe asked what I was thinking about and I told him that I'm thinking of the name 'Comfort' and what name I would like to have, in the work that I do, as a means of keeping myself focussed.
Words like hope, faith, charity, joy ... popped into my head but they all sounded like drag names. Besides, not really me.
I've settled on a clumbsy name.