Friday, March 4, 2011
© 2011, the Institute for Applied Common Sense
Over the years when attending conferences, the Logistician chastised us for renting cars. He claimed that public transportation was the way to go, since one gets a real feel for the people of a region.
After hearing him rail for many years, we finally relented, and became regular public transportation users, both at, and away from, home. Earlier today, we saw an example of “getting a real feel,” in action.
After boarding our bus, since it was 28ºF outside, we headed to the rear, which although noisy, is generally warm. We sat in the side-facing seats on the right side, and noticed to our left, 3 heavily clothed and hooded kids, ages 10, 9, and 6. They seemed an energetic bunch, bursting with promise and curiosity.
Initially, we did not notice the absence of their Mother.
The middle, wide-eyed 9 year old made some eye contact, and seemed receptive to chatter. Since it was 10:15am on a weekday, our first question was whether they were in school. All three nodded affirmatively. We then posed the question, “Do you like school?”
The 6 year old, huddled up in her pink hood, did not respond. The grinning 10 year old shook his head, and the 9 year old energetically nodded her head. There was a middle-aged man seated closest to us, in the rear shotgun seat and to the left of the 10 year old, wearing sun shades and listening to his iPod. He turned toward the kids, quietly removed his earplugs, and directed his attention to our 3 interviewees, as if he wanted to hear their responses.
Next we asked the 9 year old what her favorite subject was, to which she replied, “Science.” The 10 year old identified math as the bane of his existence . The Mother returned from the front of the bus, and sat to our left and to the right of the 6 year old. She initially appeared to be pleased that we were talking to her kids about school. Speaking to the clean-cut 10 year old, who took off his hood revealing a close haircut, we suggested that he consult with his 9 year old female friend to his side, since math is an integral part of most science.
Our 9 year old forcefully threw her hood back, informed us that “she” was a “he,” and revealed a full head of beautiful, medium brown, 7 inch locks. He was clearly irritated as our misidentification. We tried to lighten up things, by “relating” to our new found 9 year friend, by revealing that in the 1970s, we had people mistake us for members of the opposite sex also.
We continued to glance over to the right toward the Mother, who by now was simply staring outside her window, absorbed by her own thoughts. She looked familiar, although we could not exactly recall the circumstances. She no longer appeared to be interested in our conversation.
We thought that we would take the risk and continue with the 10 year old, not wanting give up on him. We asked whether there was any subject which he enjoyed, to which we thought he replied, “Spanish.” Now we were making some progress, so we thought, so we posed a few Habla Espanols, which appeared to bewilder him. Not making any connection, we assumed that he probably meant geography and the nation of Spain.
Once again, we were wrong. He finally spit out, “Spinach.” “Like the food, the green, leafy vegetable?” Without even looking our way, and detecting our confusion, the Mother screamed, “Shut your mouth boy, talking that foolishness! I get a headache just listening to you.”
Our trio of young Musketeers instantly became bumps on a log. We then recognized the Mother.
Just last week, we saw her slap the 9 year old back into the 20th Century, when the munchkin made the mistake of trying to walk across the bus aisle while the bus was negotiating a curve. Shortly after the slap came a line we’ll never forget.
“Keep it up. I’ll turn you in to the authorities and you’ll soon be just a memory on my wall.” We considered writing a post right after that incident, and got sidetracked.
A couple of weeks ago, a regular reader, CorfuBob, started off a comment with the sentence, “You and I, Inspector, were born with privileges denied most people.” We asked CorfuBob to elaborate and provide us with some insight into why he thought that the Inspector was so “privileged.”
He never responded.
Apparently he felt that he didn’t need to do so.
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