Well, Monday was one of the most nerve-wracking days I’ve had on the SaySomethingin roller-coaster!
I’d given Alison and Ross (our camera man) an overview of what we were looking for – a brief introduction before they went into La Tasca, for them to use as much Spanish as possible during the meal, and then for them to answer three different questions as though someone had said ‘Have you been learning for a month?’, ‘For a week?’, ‘For less than a day?!’ – but despite the brief, despite knowing that Alison is conscientious and thoughtful, despite how impressed I’ve been with Ross’s ability to understand what we were trying to do and even add his own valuable ideas, I still spent the day mostly in a state of dread.
First, I convinced myself that despite all the successful examples of accelerated learning we’ve seen, this would inevitably be the first one to fall flat on its face, and we’d end up with an expensive promotional video showing two tearful would-be Spanish learners saying ‘This course is complete rubbish, I wish I’d gone with Rosetta Stone after all.’
Believing that was so much fun that I went on to convince myself that even if the course worked, Alison and Phil would freeze in the spotlight, or start swearing in frustration, or that a meteorite would hit the restaurant, or the Spanish-speaking member of stuff turn out to be ill, or that Ross would decide he was packing it all in and going off to tame llamas.
Despite all this, in one of the truly great successes of my life, I did NOT text, phone, email or send a carrier pigeon to Alison or Ross with any of the several million last minute bits of frantic micro-managing that came to mind.
Somehow, I kept my eyes on the fact that the more panicked I seemed, the more pressure I’d be putting on Alison, and the more likely I would be making it that everything would go horribly wrong.
So I kept quiet.
This is not a natural state of affairs for me.
And I kept quiet. Silent. I even watched the thoroughly delightful Salmon Fishing in the Yemen to take my mind off it all, but that just made me wish that we could get hold of a wealthy Yemeni sheikh to help fund the growth of SaySomethingin…
By half-past ten that night, I was a broken man, and I sent Alison a mock-cheerful text message asking if she’d enjoyed herself.
She texted me back to say that she was sending an email.
It sounded serious.
My palms were sweaty.
And naturally enough, her email focused almost entirely on all the different things that she hadn’t done as well as she should have – classic learner beat-yourself-up material, but in the state I was in, it was enough to convince me that the walls of Jericho were indeed collapsing.
In my last few moments before swooning in despair, I sent her a line asking if she’d enjoyed anything about the experience…
Cue: a restless night.
And then, in the morning, after a slow, gloomy walk with the dogs, putting off the inevitable – an email from Alison overflowing with delight and enthusiasm at everything she’d achieved in such a short amount of time, which made it transparently obvious that she must have done wonderfully well, and that all would be good.
I would have sighed in relief, but I was too busy dancing around the house in relief, and frightening the dogs and the children.
And then later on that day I got a call from Ross, and it was equally clear from his input that Alison and Phil had done as well as I could possibly have hoped, that their Spanish-speaking waiter had been hugely impressed with them (and thought that they’d been learning for at least a month) and that the video, which we should have by the start of next week if all goes well, may indeed turn out to be a cracker.
We’ve got to do this less often! Or I’ve got to become a little more hardened to it all…;-)
Meanwhile, we had a frantic week and frantic weekend with ffrinDiaith, but the forwarding url at www.ffrindiaith.org is now live, and will take you (should you so desire) to a sign-up page on our new site.
From the early adopters, it seems that the sign-up is working smoothly, the messaging is neat and tidy, the search function does what it’s meant to, and broadly speaking all is well with the world – so we can now start to think in terms of rolling it out over the next week or so and getting a decent number of users on board before the official launch in the Eisteddfod.
A coward dies a thousand deaths, isn’t it? I must be at least half-way there…;-)