While Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was giving his lecture last Tuesday in the Koessler Athletic Center at Canisius College, most of us sat still in our seats for the duration of the event.
There were several behind-the-scenes workers, however, who were hard at work during the lecture. I listed to what Roberts was saying, but I also paid attention to these people (and, as some of you have mentioned to me, tweeted about them “like a TMZ reporter” during the event).
My favorite people to watch were the signers. There were two of them, and they rotated when the other got tired. They stood stage right of Roberts, translating his speech into sign language.
I was impressed that they changed on the fly. One would come up onto the stage and, as soon as there was a break in the action, they switched.
I watched what they did after they came off the stage. One of the signers went right for her purse and pulled out her cell phone. Now who knows, maybe she was in the middle of a family crisis, but the realists in the room would all likely say the same thing–she just texted someone to say “I’m signing for the Chief Justice of the United States!” For someone sitting so close to the stage, I would have expected slightly more professionalism.
Other little things I noticed:
–There was nothing behind that blue and gold curtain. I snooped around a little bit and looked. Life lesson–look like you belong there and no one will give you a hard time.
–To sit in the white “VIP” seats on the floor, you had to be an important figure in local politics/government or someone who donates money to the school. Press seats were on the floor, but in the back.
–John Roberts drank a lot more of his water than Joe Hasett, the host of the event who sat next to Roberts. Hasett did not touch his glass.