I MUST get started transcribing some interviews recorded over the last month so I can write two articles for the November Springfield Business Journal, but I must pass the following out of my system in hopes that something I used to experience when anxious as a child, a stomach ache, will go away. I have just done something I haven’t done in 61 years: prepared a glass of iced tea with no ice. There is no ice in the house because my new refrigerator won’t be delivered until next Saturday, and the old one quit last week. I had planned not to turn on a space heater until November 1, but with no gas connected for heat in this house, I found I was even more depressed cowering under a blanket at my computer than I’d likely be by turning on a space heater. I was right about that.
Yesterday (all my demons seemed so far away) Saturday was productive until 3:00. There’s a can of chili warming in a pan on the stove which I will consume gratefully when I’ve posted this ramble, and then I will transcribe those interviews.
Since mid-summer I’ve been teaching a friend, the wife of one of this town’s best plumbers (recently retired) how to use her e-mail. After the first two months, she agreed the the cost of some plumbing done for upstairs renter had been paid in full, a fair trade for my visits and instruction. Then she bought my meals at dinner meetings of some local flying clubs. Since my Arcadia book hit the bookstores, I’ve not asked her to pay for my meals, asked for no further payment for my tutoring — this is what friends do: help friends in need, and I’m happy as a happy clam with that outlook. I just wish it were as simple as that.
Early into the tutoring last summer, we agreed that the desk where her computer is placed was wholly inadequate for computer use, especially because we had to cram two chairs from her kitchen into the tight space between her guestroom’s bed and the desk. For two months, the desk has remained. No promised computer table. In recent weeks she has apologized to me, as soon as I’ve walked through her back door, for not having set up a new computer table. The current arrangment makes it impossible for me to teach her how toi print pictures or even email because we’d have to move the chairs out of the way and bend over into the little cave, where legs go at the desk, to even turn it on. But that’s not the worst of it.
Her own grand daughter, a friendly, vivacious 20-something gave up trying to teach my friend because she didn’t approach the task as an instructor and was impatient with her grandmother. Since I began tutoring my friend, patience has been my MANTRA to myself. Over the years, as I learned as much as I have come to know about computers. I have not been “Mr. Gets It Right Away.” Several good people have patiently worked with me along the way, and there’s no reason I shouldn’t, as gladly, engage my friend.
Except for one.
In the way she is not focused on expending one hour of one day to visit Office Max or Staples to buy a frikking computer table, she is also not committed to practice! I know this because every time I’ve gone over to tutor, we’ve had to almost start from scratch. During my first four or five visits she often used two hands on the mouse to move the cursor key to the appropriate place on the screen. Yesterday, she was doing it again! Even as a friend, I don’t want to teach someone who is so unmotivated that she’s actually regressing, rather than showing progress.
When I left her yesterday, I was so depessed over the circumstance I wanted to go home and go to bed, so I could awaken later wtih a fresh outlook on life. That was out of the question because there was a concert starting at 8:00 which the day before, I was planning to attend. I’ve attended every concert sponsored by Springfield Classical Guitar Society for several years and totally enjoyed 90% of them. They even invite me to the after=concert receptions with food, wine and great conversation. I had counted on the concert for a good listen aaaaaaaaaaaaand what would be my dinner.
But I hated . . . . . . . the world? . . . . . the lack of tutoring progress? . . . . .this cold house? . . . . . myself? . . . . too much to lurch out of my self-made corner and into the bright evening that was mine for the asking. I had the cash for the ticket, even, and was glad to be so blessed. I also had plenty of soup and chili. There were probably ten Pringles left over from last night’s can of chili and some mini packs of M&Ms from the performance Friday. There was no margarine in the house, no meat or mayonnaise, no ice. So for dinner, I ate every M&M I could get my hands on (maybe 20, tops) the rest of the Pringles, and saved the two inches of wine remaining in the Burgundy jug to drink while reading The New Yorker right before bed. I busied my evening with model airplanes. I’ve not spent more than half an hour at the model worktable since last winter, but last night I was there about six hours, plus an hour at my computer.
I hope I’ve not attended my last SCGS concert, but today it sure feels as though I have. Maybe I’ll feel better about things AFTER I send my articles into SBJ. We shall see.
My reward for AFTER I do the transcribing is a trip to the grocer for margarine (it won’t melt on the counter of an unheated house), some Pringles and a baked chicken . . . . . aaaaaaaaand, of course, a new gallon of Carlo Rossi Burgundy.
Live long . . . . . . . . and proper.
Read Full Post »