in the middle of a powerpoint presentation and you’ve got an audience of about a hundred and fifty antsy ten and eleven year olds…

What do you do???

This is not a hypothetical situation.

It happened today, about three hours ago as I write this.

October being Islamic Heritage month, I was invited to Barbara Frum library, a Toronto public library to do a presentation to commemorate it.

I chose my favorite: The Roses in My Carpets, about my Afghan refugee foster child.

I love doing the presentation! But it involves a powerpoint visual tour of the refugee camp I visited in Peshawar, Pakistan.

So I’m going ahead, full blast, right at the beginning of the presentation. I finished ‘reading’ them the book when disaster strikes! I trip over the plug and the power gets disconnected from the cart that I’ve plugged my laptop into. My laptop is connected to the projector.

Well I quickly plug it back in and the projector starts to boot up, but disaster, my laptop is not turning back on!

It’s dead.

I’m talking away, continuing the presentation, even as I keep desperately pressing the power button on my laptop to no avail.

Nothing! Nada! Zip!

What do you do when the technology fails you?

First of all, don’t let them see you panic.

Second of all, have redundancy!!!!

Not only did I also have the powerpoint on a USB flash drive, I also had a picture of Kareem, my foster child, in my presentation case, that I pulled out and showed the group as I continued the presentation.

I called the librarian, Alex, and asked for a new computer, while I continued the presentation as if nothing happened, knowing that at the beginning of the presentation, I dwell on Kareem’s handsome face for a good portion of time. Long enough that they might be able to set up a new laptop.

Sure enough, the technician brought a new laptop, I disconnected mine, while he connected his, and handed over my USB, and all while I’m continuing the presentation, talking nice and loud, as the powerpoint is coming up in time for the next slide.

I wonder if I could have done it if I hadn’t known the presentation, basically backwards and forwards. I’ve done it about five thousand times!

Alhamdu lillah.

Even though all I could think of was what a disaster the technology had been, people came up to me visibly moved!

They had loved the presentation! Masha Allah.

So always remember, it’s never as bad as you think it is.

I tend to be super hard on myself. Any little flub or mistake I make gets magnified umpteen times in my head.

But the audience is so much more forgiving. Especially since it was a technology problem!

I did think of just cancelling the powerpoint and doing another presentation, but I’m glad I didn’t. It had been advertised!

And people had come from all the way across town, dragging their kids on public transit and everything, just to see me and this particular presentation.

Alhamdu lillah, it was fine and the librarian said it was an excellent presentation.

So just a tip, always have a backup in case the technology fails.

Haven’t tried turning my computer on again. I probably should. I think it might just need recharging before it turns on.

Or maybe it’s just crashed.

We’ll see.