I can explain, wait, I can explain. Insofar as my powers of explanation – unacceptably limited though they are – allow for it, you will see I was only leaving. It is a matter of intent, you know, in the end, the difference between leaving and staging a walk-out, but what a difference.
It was my intent to be Don Cook, or to be like him, rather, to disappear from the room, as he had earlier. No one else even had to know. In life, you will agree, a person sometimes just wants to leave a room like I wanted to leave the room last night.
Perhaps, it occurs to me, in Don Cook’s day, a basic education might have included a learning unit on the ways to extricate oneself from a plastic chair with metal sleigh legs. Perhaps there was a test. Probably there was. Extra points for getting out of a plastic chair with metal sleigh legs noiselessly.
I have learned only three things in my life and one of them is this: When faced with a toxic environment, one should leave. And so it is that I do leave, whenever possible. I see a toxic environment and I say to myself, “O Harry, this is a toxic environment. It ought to be left.” And so it was with this political meeting, last night.
My explaining, in my estimation, is going well, so far.
In the process of leaving this political meeting, which was toxic, I pushed back in my chair. My plastic chair with metal sleigh legs. Had I planned my departure ahead of time – which I had not – and had I said, “Harry, let’s make a big fuss about getting out of this chair and leaving,” I could not have possibly devised a method of doing so with a higher degree of cacophony. It sounded like nothing less than a train screeching to a fast halt.
And therein, to my dismay, much of the practical difference that existed between leaving the room and conducting a planned walk-out was erased.
My chair screeched and I got up and walked out of the Haver Center at St. Stephens Episcopal Church. The party’s secretary, believing me, reasonably, to be in the throes of staging a walk-out, followed me, albeit without all the chair screeching.
Next came a party co-chair. Next came a member of the party State Executive Committee and our likely 2018 gubernatorial candidate. Outside, they congratulated me on having staged the walk-out. I demurred. I said, “But it’s just that I did not expect my chair to be so loud.”
One of the walk-outers said to me, “I didn’t have the nerve to do that, Harry. I’m glad you did it, Harry.” But I was not glad. Staging a walk-out, even a walk-out of the most accidental variety, is not my style.
Leaving is my style, to the extent I have a style.
Never – not in a million years – would I wish to add to the great weight of the world’s toxicity. It’s just that there are some rooms that I do not wish to be in.