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Preference and Training VS. Disposition and Experience

September 16, 2012

I was out and about this weekend in the Museum District of Houston, TX.  It was free-museum-day, and an old college friend and I made it to seven museums before winding up rounding off our day at a little coffee house just off the museum-circuit path.  By that time, it was pouring buckets, and the coffee house had filled to the brimming with what appeared to be mostly college students taking shelter from the rain with homework in hand.  There was not an unoccupied table on the premises that wasn’t located on the uncovered patio, and my friend and I were not interested in becoming more soaked than we already were, so we swooped down on a four-seat table occupied by a lone woman of approximately our own age.  She was not averse to company, so we settled in to sit out the rain, and the three of us struck up a long, thoughtful, interesting conversation about our experiences and adventures in A) education, B) employment, C) our searches for employment post-graduation.  At some point in the conversation, something shot out of my mouth that I do believe to be true, but which hadn’t occurred to me in so many words prior.  I said something along the lines of “I’m an actor by preference and training, but really, I’m a teacher by disposition and experience.”  Huh.  Now, what prompted me to spout that?  It is funny how sometimes a person’s dialogue can get three steps ahead of her brain, but in my case, I actually have a pretty clever and observant motor-mouth.  Now, this is not to say that I do not have experience in acting or do not have training in teaching.  I have a great deal of both.  It’s simply that my education subsequent to high school focused primarily on performance, while I have a great deal more professional teaching experience than paid acting experience.  I am passionate about my theatrical work.  I also love to teach.  At the heart of things, though I am a good and accomplished actor, I had to work as hard as I ever have in getting to the point where I could say that and know it was the truth.  Teaching came as easily to me as breathing.

Anyway, the conversation was really quite entertaining, and it is an amazing thing to meet a like-minded person in passing.  In the end, the woman whose table we had invaded scurried out the door when the sun broke through the clouds in hopes of catching the last moments of free-museum-day, and my old friend and I made our way homeward.  We never exchanged contact information, only names and stories.

All told, the conversation at the coffee house was just as worthwhile and educational as all seven of those museum experiences combined.  Life can be surprising!  Now that I’ve gone and defined the situation, here’s knocking on wood that I can suit my professional preference and my natural disposition at the same time in the near future.  -E.G.D.

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