What happened to me is not the reason for my mood but I'm sure it contributed. My first night here I was invited to a dinner mainly for scientists who are up here doing a radio show. I'm placed next to Brain Cox and something inside me wilts because I know I am sitting next to a superior being and he will soon find out I'm a two-celled worm. I am next to someone who knows what happened to make the big bang, he sees atoms and electrons and even knows what they are. He doesn't think about things that I, a mere mortal does, like whether or not there is food on my teeth, and death. To me he is greater than any rock star squared.
You could say this is my imagination - and I know it is - but it's all I've got. This is my trigger, if I'm near someone that smart, I tailspin into the interior pre-recorded CD made in childhood that goes something like this, "You're a total idiot and people will find out that you're an idiot." (It's repeated many times). It was an early recording from around the time I came in last in my class in finger painting at nursery school. I also did not get into the swing of potty training till way after the time it was considered chic.
So there I was, hair-raised because the guy sitting next to me is (I have not gone on spell check which I usually have to every two words) a motecular genicist, astro physist, evolutionary something particale physisit, neruimmunionpiginy, quantum electrocardiologist with some string thrown in, he's beautiful and looks ten years old. At first I try to pull out something from the empty space called my brain; I give it my best shot. I say, tongue sticking to the roof of my mouth, "If there are infinite parallel universes meaning there are zillions of me's, how am I able to put food in my mouth with one fork?" He actually didn't look at me as if I was a dead bug I think he may have thought I knew something he didn't so he responded with something about fractals and particles, that I can exist here but also there. I laughed and said of course I know that and then began to sing show tunes from "Annie Get Your Gun" because Robin Ince, another genius on the other side of me, told me Brian liked those songs. I could tell Brian was confused but amused and then his wife phoned and among other things said she was thrilled I was next to her husband and told him to take a selfie. We pose for the photo and I don't want his head to touch mine in case I pass my idiocy into his.
Thank God I happened to have one of those small blow up Pilates balls in my bag so I put it to my mouth and blew it up for the shot. Brian held up a candle representing the sun or Lady Macbeth, I'm not sure. Anyway after the ice breaker we were fine. He told me about how nothing much happened on the earth for 3.7 billion years and then about 600,000 years ago when there was finally enough oxygen, a cell filled with mitochondria (I nodded as if I knew) from some piece of fungi started to breath in oxygen while another cell breathed out methane (I'm sure I got that wrong) and so complexity began and then he went all the way up to how us was formed. I had no cards to play because I knew I was that cell breathing oxygen but not much more.
I do have some features; I'm a good listener and can be extremely funny when I'm not nervous. So now he's included some older guy across from us in into the conversation about some LE173 gene that they found which determined how far that complex cell would migrate from central Africa to Egypt and the guy says how many of these LE438's could get that far? He asks me what I do and out of my mouth before I can pull the brakes out comes, "Model/actress". He laughs, I don't know why, and I'm thinking this guy is a mortal like me just listening to the Master speak but then Brain or Brian tells me this is the world's leading cosmologist. I shrivel. Carlos Frenk (look him up on You Tube, I did and almost choked to death). I didn't even understand his opening line, then holding up a squiggle on a piece of paper he told us in the language of math (which I do not speak) to take fluctuating space and multiply it by time. That was later, when I go home - but now, in the restaurant, he tells me that he was on a plane and was asked what he did, he said cosmologist and the person said, "Do you think I need a face lift?" I didn't think that was funny because that's what I would have asked. Then it gets worse he asks me where I think he comes from. I'm sweating. I say Hungary, no Brazil, to help me he tells me it's 29th latitude and 36 longitude so then I give up saying, "Ok you must be Mexican" and yes, that's what he is. Bingo. I then start to show off asking what town and I reel off Spanish names some of them are in Argentina but by now he thinks I'm funny so I'm riding high on my stupidity. At the end of the night I think I got a D for effort. I went home and, as I said, Youtubed Carlos Frenk all night until the electricity ran out and I woke up knowing nothing, nothing. This re-telling of my evening is not about wanting your pity; this is just a sharing of the inner landscape of my mind or whatever's in there. Thanks.
I'm in Edinburgh with my Sane New World Tour this week and I'll be touring the UK this Autumn. You can find full details here.