Immigrant Life

Hold the Door!

What is labor but the agonized concentration of body and mind in squeezing out what has taken months (or years, depending on how you think about it) to develop, through the tiniest door of opportunity? A door that seems so poorly designed for the size of the job, the volume of the output, that it leaves one scratching one’s head in wonderment as to whose genius idea it was anyway. Oh, right, God’s.

Riddle me this then, is The Man Upstairs also the one behind the inspired spark that is elevator pitches?

I practiced an elevator pitch the other day, a ten/twenty second self-advertising spot written, produced, directed and shot all by me. Except I wasn’t on location in an elevator, my audience was not some big cheese who runs a to-die-for enterprise out of the top floor and the only production equipments were my voice and body, both of which are in serious need of some high end servicing.

At the end of my pitch the impression I left, apparently, was of a woman undergoing labor.

Even if this observation had not come from someone who has actually witnessed the real thing – labor, that is, not elevator pitches – in all its dilated glory, I would have completely agreed. My whole body contracted into a single point of concentration focused on distilling the entirety of me (here, a respectful nod to women who have to pop out the entirety of two people) into ten/twenty seconds of material. I could barely breathe, my heart was racing, my forehead was cold and sweaty and I found myself scratching my head. Not scratching it in the soft alluring way of an aha-moment (thanks Oprah) but in the unsightly loud way of not having washed my hair for one day too many and being on the eve of scalp issues as a result.

And what did I heave out after all my effort? A compact perfect little bundle of joy? A seamless integration of traits that is a wonder to behold and leaves one awestruck?

Mini-me turned out to be one Frankenstein of a personal/professional narrative, a thing with only a few familiar patches of me here and there, a monster born of a frantic attempt to connect pieces of a career that don’t quite make sense when strung together, what a connect-the-dots picture would look like if you put the dots in after the fact.

You know how elevator doors take forever to open and close and never do so when you think they will? How, often, you will step up to get in or get out many seconds too soon and have to then stand there like an idiot, your nose inches from the unhurried, judgemental expanse of metal?

And you know that saying luck is opportunity meeting preparation?

If opportunity is anything like an elevator door and preparation like a woman who starts pushing after the baby is out, then somebody somewhere is shit out of luck.

And cut.

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