I thought about my brief conversation with Mark right after sacrament meeting. "So... what time am I supposed to be done?" "Eleven." "Eleven? Not even, like, ten fifty or fifty-five?" "Nope. Eleven. On the dot. Oh, and you're teaching in the big room." Crap.
At first I thought maybe the big room would be better. A bigger room meant more people. I was already nervous enough that I don't think adding even several hundred people to my crowd could have made me more nervous. So a bigger room was good, right? More people means more comments. Right? Wrong. Crap.
I stared out across the room again. Waiting for someone to comment. I desperately tried to make eye contact with Mindy. Kim. Lowe. Steven. Tahna. Anyone?? It felt like I was up there for an eternity, just staring at them all and praying for someone to answer the question I'd just asked. I mean, it wasn't a hard one to answer, and I had said plenty of things before the question that would be equally easy to comment on. So why wasn't anyone commenting? I was already hot (I get hot really fast when I'm nervous), but I felt my body temperature jump a few degrees. Oh no! No one's going to comment, and this is the last topic of discussion before I'm supposed to end! If no one comments, I don't think I'll be able to improv my way through fifteen minutes to get to the closing thoughts I had prepared. We'd have to end early. But twenty minutes early? Really? That would make it painfully obvious that my experience in teaching is extremely limited and that I don't have the blessed skill of improvising under pressure. No one is going to want to come to my class when I teach. Crap.
I moved my bangs away from my eyes (something to do while standing up there, waiting for a comment). I think I remember feeling sweat beads on my forehead. Not only gross, but also visible to others! Oh no. I also ran my hand over the back of my hair for some reason (a fake itch? "adjusting" hair that had fallen out of place? just another something to do, most likely). The heat my nervous body was emitting was intense enough that I could feel it through my thick hair. I wondered if it would be wise to put my hair up next time. Maybe then I wouldn't feel quite so hot. I also realized just then that if my head is this hot, my armpits have got to have something going on down there, too. I, again, panicked for a moment. I had no idea what their status was. Tacos? Pancakes? Had they gone straight to full-out pizzas?? I didn't even think to sweat-proof my shirt, so who knows what it looks like! Ok. Note to self: keep arms down (that made for several awkward side-hugs after my lesson) and sweat-proof all future outfits worn on teaching days. Ugh. That's not something I've ever had to worry about! Crap.
I glanced at my Zune again. Oh no! It hadn't even been a minute!
My thoughts continued to wander. Luckily, before I could get so far as to seriously consider moving out of the ward, I saw a hand go up. Lindsey-- you are my hero. She made a comment and asked a question that spurred other comments and thoughts. The next time I looked at my Zune it was ten fifty-five. I tied up the discussion and said my closing thoughts and asked for a volunteer to pray. I can't remember the last time I'd felt so relieved. Happiness.
Upon thinking about the lesson a little more, I came to the conclusion that it was like a roller coaster ride. Almost exactly like riding the Colossus for the first time, actually. The analogy I did at the beginning with a volunteer was like the slow climb to that first really high part of the ride. You know--where you can look down into the parking lot and freak out because you realize how high you are. The moment I just went into great detail about was a lot like the moment where you pause at the top. You see the track ahead of you, and you know gravity is going to pull you in that general direction, but you're not 100% positive you're going to stay on the track and make it safely to the end. Sometimes freak accidents happen, you know? But then Lindsey's comment was like that moment right after the roller coaster starts on its way down. You're relieved to not be hanging out at the top anymore, but you're still not all the way ok. Then you make it through the first turn. Seems like easy sailing... until you hit the first loop. Someone makes a comment and it's awesome, but the ride slows down for a second on the underside of the loop and you're not sure the coaster's got enough speed to make it. It does, and you're relieved. Just to hit another loop! But you've already made it through one and you're more confident this time. You make it through the second loop and the rest of the track. The coaster pulls back into the stop area and you relax all those muscles you were tensing through the entire ride. What a rush. Wanna ride it again? Afraid I have no choice.