By Pietro Spadafora
I have to reveal you a little secret … Even though we have been asked, I never changed place! I am surprised when the class starts and the music stops my classmates seem to play musical statues; nobody moves during the master classes. Instead, as soon as I sit on a chair, I feel like I’m on a rodeo machine, I can never find a comfortable position. I am hyperactive, fortunately not clinically. Since nursery school, I have always received reprimands for the constant crunch of the bench that marked every move of mine. Because of my height and my continuous movements, I have always preferred to sit in the last row, I do not like to feel like those giants sitting in the center of the cinema with a maxi bundle of popcorn in my hand.
I often wonder why I always feel the need to move on the chair: on one hand, it helps me to concentrate, keeping myself physically active brings more blood to my brain. On the other hand, my body creates a synergy with my mind (full of different thoughts) and consequently, they both make me move hectically. I have the concentration of a child at an amusement park, constantly on a roller coaster, while on it I am already thinking of the other thousand activities that are available.
I feel great affection for my spot, chairs change but my spot remains. I have a perfect view from my position, I can perfectly see the screen and if I stand straight on my back I can see all my classmates. I have so much visibility that I can notice who is missing even before Honor arrives to record the attendance. Without changing position in the class, I always have a different perspective with respect to the other course mates, since they change places; in fact, I do not care about the class in terms of space but rather in terms of people. Like the Church, which is not a building but a community, the Dunbar is not a classroom but an intakes group. In Italian, we have a say that roughly translates “If Mohammed will not go to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mohammed”.
I enjoy studying the tics and the behaviour of my companions: someone twists his hair and checks if he has lost some in the meantime; someone repeatedly brings the cup to his mouth, even if he knows that there is nothing inside; someone prefers to sit on the couch and someone always sits on the most awkward chairs; someone always takes perfect notes and someone cannot help but do some scribble or calligraphy; someone speaks aloud, someone in a low voice and someone does not speak at all… yadda yadda yadda (I love this word that I learned recently).
I hope I have not bored you after this long introduction, which may seem meaningless, but now it comes the best part. From the first day, I approached and talked to my fellow students as a result of their way of moving and talking in the Dunbar. I think that, besides being fun, it is also useful to form a pre-judgment on people because it is easier to get to know them better and then make a more accurate judgment. In general I have tried to include those who are shy or are always alone (not to be confused with introversion – that is not a bad thing); in contrast, with leaders, I don’t feel the need to. I have tried to approach or challenge the anxious ones and so on. I understand that my way of acting may be loved and hated, I feel a bit like the Marmite of the class. I am glad that a couple of previously timid companions have changed drastically, not that I can be credited for this, but I am happy to have talked to them without mincing my words from the first moment I met them.
It must be said that I have not yet totally connected with anybody and I have not been able to fully open up to everyone. I am however proud to say that I am starting to have many “fellows of experience”, people who are next to you and with whom you laugh and for whom you start to feel affection: we complain in the morning because we are tired; we take short breaks to smoke a cigarette and exchange jokes (running like mads up and down the stairs); we help each other on the projects even if we are not in the group together; we motivate each other to always give our best and compliment if one of us has done a good job.
My dear friend, I wished I had started with this introduction rather than ending the scab here, it is because I still have a lot to tell you but it is late and I would not like dance in front of the whole class tomorrow morning.
Ps: don’t leave me the office chair