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Grace and Directness
The plane ride relaxed Saffron Lesane. On the first leg of her multi-city tour sponsored by the Delaware Institute of Technology (DIT), she felt confident in her ability to deliver talks. The captain appeared on a screen but she was not on the aircraft. Equipped with a fully autopilot system, the vessel carried seventy-two souls aboard. Captain Shirla McCovey appeared pleasant enough. Her high cheekbones shone in prominent fashion on her vibrant, Irish skin. She spoke with a sense of homespun grace and directness. For a pilot, she seemed more friendly and personal than some guy flying an airship.
A Cozy Slumber
“May you enjoy your flight and thank you for flying Keane Airlines,” Captain McCovey signed off and the screen went black. It returned to life with an array of film choices, alcohol selection, a set of soothing sounds to help passengers fall asleep, and an Internet browser. Saffron selected the calming music feature. She drifted into a cozy slumber as the plane rocked and swayed during the flight.
Preaching and Teaching
Once Saffron landed in Hong Kong, the sense of inspiration a bit of admiration for the application of thought creeped into her psyche. The sight of the skyscrapers invigorated in her a spirit of accomplishment and what is possible to humanity. She knew that she would relish this trip. Her first assignment called for her to address college aged students. This was her specialty. She retained some semblance of Cantonese. But she lucked out by being encouraged to speak in English. All of the students would either know the language or don wireless headphones which would translate her words. A tablet held all of her notes and bullet points which she wished to improvise. At the hotel room, which received a five star rating, Saffron put all of the amenities to proper use. The robotic room servants aided in organizing her ideas and fixed up the turndown service on her bed. She sampled truffles and sipped champagne. After the robots left her room, she studied in solitude. Like an ascetic scanning holy texts, Saffron offered her most complete attention to her task. In the morning she would journey down to the hotel’s conference room and deliver the gospel of mathematics.
Wake Up Call
Saffron received her wake up call at around five am. She dressed herself in a red tunic and satin slippers. Her whole speech resided in her tablet which she carried with a bottle of water. When she got to the lectern and confronted a few hundred faces, she knew that this would be the time to display her eloquence, her elegance, her truth. The lights came up and she launched into her presentation.
“So, mathematics is the study of the relationship between figures and forms. But what does that mean? It is the application of method to solve problems presented by these figures and forms.” Saffron engaged her audience. In an instant, the turn of phrase, the tone of voice, and the passion she exhibited allowed every occupant of the seats before her to be inspired. DIT provided the platform for Saffron to deliberate on the magic of mathematics and the utter brilliance of the allowance of the human mind to interpret such wonders. A more literal sense became apparent as she noticed the students who applied the headphones to their ears shifted the volume to the highest level. Just under an hour, Saffron had reached the end of her lecture and opened the audience up for questions. A microphone shuttled about from the grip of a robot to the hands of humans. The first questioner could understand English and speak it. In fact, she was quite fluent.
"Thank you, Dr. Lesane, for that encouraging speech. Now that you live under complete freedom in Delaware, in the United States, what does that mean to you as a mathematician?” Saffron took a moment to answer and breathed in deeply and exhaled.
“Well,” she said. “I find it to be beautiful. Dealing with math presents the individual with the idea of discovery. In order to solve societal issues, particularly with individual freedom, only a liberated mind can meet and win the challenges presented to her, mathematical or otherwise.” Her poise and dignified demeanor impressed the students. From what they could surmise, Saffron lived for approaching mathematics in a specific sense and life in general as a science of gaining and ever expanding knowledge. Because of her strict adherence to the facts of reality, Saffron could identify and tangle with the dilemmas of living, even in the only free state in the entire world.
When in Hong Kong....
By knowing that her audience lived in a technological beacon of prosperity and economic uplift, she ended her question and answer period with the notion that Hong Kong could liberate itself. This meant also that they might experience freedom of speech in the fullest extent. She reminded them that their futures called for relinquishing human thought from the confines of political oppression. She instilled in her listeners the exactitude and full measure of employing mathematics in everyday life. Her words conveyed an urgency and deep concern for the lives of the people whom she addressed. Her honesty prevailed that day. That dedication, that drive would sustain her on her trips to the other places around the globe.
For now, in the wake of spirited applause, Saffron would return to her hotel room and prepare for her next excursion. She still revised her speech and found a few dangling ideas and unpolished remarks. Her constant focus on improving in her work lead her to tightening up those loose ends and making points more clear and direct. Saffron savored the moments of introspection and correction. She knew that with every statement made more potent and lucid, she would accomplish her goal as being the teacher who could represent excellence. Her labor would not be in vain as she fortified her arguments with statistics, facts, and figures. She traded with that Hong Kong audience. As she parted knowledge, she reaped the reward of knowing that at least one student would grasp what was thought as unreachable in an intellectual sense. She was unshakeable. Her resolve to do more than the expectation fueled her to reach ever higher.