Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Through a Glass Darkly

The Interview has remained one of your favorite sources of gaining information.  Whether the venue is in print media such as newspapers, journals, on-line sites, or the yet more visual televised or in-person, you find yourself applying many of the standards to the interview you'd apply to a work of art or, for that matter, a reputable reference guide.

Given you interest in creating characters and categorizing those you read in fiction or see in dramatic presentations, the Interview has also helped you with direct and indirect contributions to your own writing.  

Over the years, you've conducted interviews for newspapers and magazines,  in which your subjects have been ballerinas, the conductor of a symphony orchestra, a politician, a famed basketball coach,several mystery writers, the actor Lily Tomlin;  a cosmetic plastic surgeon, and the owner of a detective agency.

You also have experience as a moderator of panel discussion, which is in effect interviewing four or five individuals at the same time, or, to extend the metaphor, juggling a number of objects without dropping any of them.  The key in all these activities is to remember the importance of the individual being interviewed rather than using the opportunity to lecture from the equivalent of a script based on your views,

To complete the picture, you've been interviewed numerous times for newspapers, live and filmed television, wherein your opinions or activities were the reason for you being interviewed.  This seems more obvious than it really is; there have been times when you have seen the subject become so determined to control the conversation that the Interview turned into a shouting match.  

One Interviewer of your acquaintance had to give up a regular job because her reputation of a conversation hog caught up with her and worthwhile subjects for being interviewed began to refuse invitations to appear on her program.

With those details and standards established, you have undertaken what is arguably the most difficult interview you've ever had to conduct.  Your subject here is many things, proverbial being one attribution often given it.  The reference is to the glass of water, hereinafter referred to as GW, who is often introduced with the rhetorical question, "Is it half empty or half full?"

YOU:  Good evening.  Thank you for taking the time to join us.  Will you begin by telling us a little about yourself--things you think might be of interest.

GW: I am a twelve-ounce, crystal based drinking glass with fluted sides, a half-inch bottom for ballast and lower center of gravity.  

YOU:  Is there anything in your appearance that particularly pleases you?

GW:  Thank you for asking that.  Glasses do have vanity.  I am proud of my gradual taper and the elegance of my fluted sides, which by no means are all about vanity.  They allow someone to get a secure grip on me.

YOU:  Any secrets you'd like to share?

GW:  When I'm filled with iced tea, I sweat.  The fluted sides allow me to sweat with confidence.

YOU:  Okay, let's get right into it.  I see you have some water.

GW:  Yes.  San Pelegrino.  Just a tad of carbonation.

YOU:  Can you tell us if you're half full or--

GW:  I knew it.  

YOU:  Knew?

GW:I knew you'd ask that.  Probably the only reason you brought me here in the first place.  Let me turn the tables on you.  You read the subtext in that questions of yours, right?  You want to know if I'm a pessimist, an optimist, or a middle-of-the-roader.  

YOU:  People want to know.

GW:  People.  You can't wait to categorize me.  Then, depending on my answer, all glasses of water will be pessimists, optimists, or declines-to-state.  But what about you?  Does anyone ever ask you if you're half-full or half-empty?  And don't give me that crap about objectivity or science.  What difference does it make how much or how little water is in the glass?  Is that all you guys can think of?  You ever wonder how I got to be a glass in the first place?  And like, am I recycled or first time out?  Am I part of a set?  And what about, do I like being hand washed or machine washed, or how do I feel about being refilled?  How about, What was the most remarkable thing I was filled with, and did it in any way change my life?  You guys.  You think I'm like some wine glass, people dip their finger in the wine, then use the moisture to run around the rim and get a hum.  Big deal, humming wine glasses.  I would like it if, for once, you'd look at me as what I am, one of the more remarkable utensils in the world.  You got any idea what people were drinking out of before glass came along?  You ever hear anyone wonder of a pewter beer stein or a pottery mug was half-empty or half-full?  Some of my relatives, they go back to the freaking Stone Age.  You ever think about things like that?  

YOU:  I'll have to get back to you on this.

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