At Emerson College there is quite a heavy bias towards arts courses, with wood and stone sculpture, painting and pottery, as well as the performing arts.
When this weeks new students arrived on Sunday, I found myself sharing a table at lunchtime with 2 middle-aged guys who hail from Yorkshire.
Phil works at a Camphill community and has done a few courses at Emerson in previous years.
I asked him what course he was doing this time round.
“Clowning and maths”, he replied.
A forkful of green Thai curry came to a halt inches from my mouth.
“Clowning and maths”, I repeated, searching his face for a clue.
“Yes”, he said, as I looked to his colleague for confirmation. Dave was nodding.
My curry returned to it’s plate.
I looked at Phil, and back to Dave, to see if I was missing the joke somewhere.
“Clowning and maths ?” I tried again, slightly incredulous now.
Phil gave Dave a look that said “is he deaf or stupid?” and me a pitying look as he again said “yes”.
I laughed weakly and said “that’s a weird combination…….”
“Not really” said Dave “the mask helps bring out a more expressive side of the clown…”
“Oh! Clowning and MASKS” I said laughing……
I was telling this story at tea break today and several people nearly choked on their gingernuts. When everyone had recovered, the conversation got round to other misunderstandings.
I was reminded of a friend who was taking a group of builders to a site up in London one day very early in the morning. As they rounded a bend in a country lane, they collided with a deer. The battered Ford looked much the same as it had before the accident, i.e. as if it had been driven over a cliff! The unfortunate animal also looked as if it had been driven over a cliff, and was killed outright.
Never one to look a gift horse hind in the mouth, my friend had his crew load the carcass into the van and they continued on their way.
When they arrived at the site, one of the builders was instructed to drive the van back to Sussex and put the deer in my friend’s garage.
On arriving home that evening, my friend was amazed to see that the normally quiet cul-de-sac where he rented a house, was blocked by police vehicles and lit up with floodlights.
The houses were set back from the road and a steep driveway led to the garages. The steep driveway to my friend’s neighbour’s garage was slick with blood, and several police officers were standing looking at a very dead deer. A visibly shocked old couple stood nearby being consoled by other neighbours…………..