It took forever to reach my travel agent yesterday. I am guessing it’s not because clients are keeping her line busy. I had asked her to find me some good deals. Today I canceled.
I want to be optimistic about my chances of flying to Atlanta for my granddaughter’s wedding. But the realities are not encouraging. Recent news seems to say “it will get worse before it gets better.”
And so we continue to sanitize, wipe surfaces, wash hands, and avoid touching our faces. Yesterday I caught myself trying to breathe “carefully.” My sitting tai chi routine involves deep breaths and relaxing. But even breathing seems risky these days. And who can relax? I wonder if we will ever get over this feeling of being under attack.
I heard from my granddaughter in Seattle. Her biggest concern these days is how to remind her children to take precautions and yet not put fear in their hearts.
The other night her little girl was in bed unusually early. Her uncle had arrived from Manila and she was afraid to welcome him with a kiss and a hug before he had showered and changed. “He might think I am rude. You know how we are. Filipinos always expect a beso,” she explained. So she went to bed and pretended to be asleep.
My granddaughter has stopped going on Facebook to lessen the stress caused by the numerous random stories about Covid-19. She has apps that keep her in touch with reliable and official sources of information. “We have an infodemic, not just an epidemic, “ she said. Doomsayers and alarmists online have multiplied exponentially, like the virus.
If only to keep my sanity, I too have set my own limits. I listen only to what qualified medical people have to say. Their language is straightforward and supported by solid credentials. When politicians in high places make pronouncements, I keep my proverbial “grain of salt” handy. Beware, the hidden agenda!
My friend called to “talk story.” Just the day before, she had happily announced that she was having dinner with her daughter and family and was really looking forward to it. “I don’t see them often enough. They are always so busy. And their children are all growing up so fast and have all kinds of barkada. At last we have a dinner date. It will be time for us to catch up! I’m excited.”
So I asked her about it. “It was nice” she replied. “Where did you go?” She said they had gone to a Japanese restaurant at the Fort. “It’s a new place,” she said. She did not sound happy. And then it came: “The food was good. Their cold sake was delicious. But it was a rather quiet meal. I am not too crazy about watching four people on their phones. “
I stifled a chuckle.
Once in a while one finds a story that is worth sharing. This one is from Hilaria Hamms Rogers.
An old man meets a young man who asks: “Do you remember me?”
And the old man says no. Then the young man tells him he was his student, and the teacher asks: “What do you do, what do you do in life?”
The young man answers: “Well, I became a teacher.”
“Ah, how good, like me?” asks the old man.
“Well, yes. In fact, I became a teacher because you inspired me to be like you.”
The old man, curious, asks the young man at what time he decided to become a teacher. And the young man tells him the following story:
“One day, a friend of mine, also a student, came in with a nice new watch, and I decided I wanted it and I stole it, I took it out of his pocket. Shortly after, my friend noticed the flight and immediately complained to our teacher, who was you.
“Then you went to the class. ‘This student’s watch was stolen during classes today. Whoever stole it, please return it.’ I didn’t give it back because I didn’t want to.
“Then you closed the door and told us all to get up and you were going to search our pockets one by one until the watch was found. But you told us to close our eyes, because you would only look for his watch if we all had our eyes closed.
“So we did, and you went from pocket to pocket, and when you went through my pocket, you found the watch and took it.
“You kept searching everyone’s pockets, and when you were done you said, ‘Open your eyes. We have the watch.’
“You didn’t tell me and you never mentioned the episode. You never said who stole the watch either.
“That day you saved my dignity forever. It was the most shameful day of my life. But this is also the day my dignity was saved and I decided not to become a thief, a bad person, etc.
“You never said anything, nor even scold me or took me aside to give me a moral lesson. I received your message clearly. And thanks to you, I understood what a real educator needs to do. Do you remember this episode, Professor? ”
And the professor answered, “I remember the situation, the stolen watch, which I was looking for in everyone’s pocket, but I didn’t remember you, because I also closed my eyes while looking.”
This is the essence of teaching: If to correct you must humiliate, you don’t know how to teach.