Scared Stiff

Written by Ria Q, another new Morningstar

It is a terrific west coast morning, sunny and warm – much warmer than I would expect on a spring day. The anticipation in the hall is palpable as we settle in for a busy morning of 2 Icebreaker speeches and an interpretive reading from an Advanced Manual.

John starts us off in his usual friendly style by encouraging us to gather our thoughts, coffee and water as we all sit just as the gavel bangs down.

William as Chair calls the meeting to order. Our theme of the day is Scared Stiff.

Cathie presents the word of the day, an adjective – ‘terrific’. Interesting that the word, as Cathie points out, can have both a positive and negative meaning.

of great size, amount or intensity
informal: extremely good, excellent
archaic: causing terror, from the latin terrere ‘frighten’

Larry leads us in an inspirational toast to the sick children around the world wishing them a return to health and wellness. His inspiration comes from a documentary he saw on TV about Sick Children’s Hospital. He found it interesting, and I do too, that most of the children ‘live in the moment’. They don’t seem to realize the gravity of their situation and carry on as if this is life as it’s supposed to be – a fine reminder that every moment in this life is precious.

Xinyu as Timer, regales us with a short story about the pitfalls of time management Spanish-style and how a cultural difference lead her to miss first a bus, then two planes on her way out of Spain.

Margot, past Toastmaster and journalist, returns to present another Icebreaker in an easy, fluent style. Her self-deprecating views are funny and endearing. I look forward to hearing more from Margot in the coming months.

Sharon’s interpretative reading of fellow Toastmaster PJ’s story “The Best Way to Meet Angels” is engaging and provokes terror on a “rough-and-tumble highway in south-central Africa known as the Hell Run”. I get the feeling that a young PJ is scared stiff as he makes his way across the “1500-mile lifeline that serves the heart of a continent”. Sharon does a terrific job of re-enacting PJ’s journey.

I, Ria, present my Icebreaker titled “The Summer of My Life” in an unexpected fashion – filled with emotion and fueled by adrenaline. Although I’m scared stiff, I carry on and pull through with encouragement in the eyes of my fellow Toastmasters. It’s done! And, onto the next…

Shannon’s joke is a woe-is-me tale of her friend being locked in a college bathroom over the weekend only to realize that she is trying to escape her terrific predicament by exiting through the locked broom closet!

Katherine almost stumps us as Quizmaster when she asks the question “Where is the chicken not allowed to cross the road?” Honestly, I’m stumped!

At the end of it all, Cathie finds not many ums and ahs and informs us we used the word of the day, terrific, nine times.

I’m off to work as the day shines clear and bright and my adrenaline fades, leaving me eager to come back next week and do it all again.

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