Saturday, January 3, 2009

Auld acquaintance

I am still endeavoring to distract myself somewhat from my beloved husband's unexpected treachery in allowing his mom to whack off several inches of Joel's hair (no, there will not be any photographic evidence--I am desperately hoping that the bangs will grow back out before birthday pictures in two weeks. I was exaggerating when I compared the front to someone stricken with mange, but on one side it is distressingly close to the scalp, and a bit too short even in the longest sections. The back isn't quite so bad, because the curls conceal some of the disparity in length, but I am less than pleased with it, too. Ah well, it is only hair and it will grow back, right?). Please understand that my mother in law is an excellent woman, and actually trimmed Carlos' hair and it looked fine. However, she isn't used to curly hair, and makes the unfortunate practice of wetting hair and stretching it down when trimming bangs. It is also possible that Joelito turned at an inauspicious moment--I'm not sure. The results, in any case, were a source of grief to me.

Anyway, the original post was going to be about getting in touch with some friends I hadn't seen in a decade or more. Have I mentioned previously how much I love Facebook? I got in touch with a few former coworkers, and even though they have scattered about, some of us got together during the holidays.

Roughly ten to twelve years ago, Carlos, his sister, several friends and I were all working in the International Language department of the same college. It was a fun place to be. Nearly all of the workers were from other countries and cultures, or had spent considerable time travelling. I'm no psychologist (though I occasionally play one), but I think all of the people there were drawn to new experiences. We were interested in other points of view. Other than that, we were a diverse group.

Our boss was Chinese, and had moved here as an adult. She was gracious, even when exasperate by our mentally unbalanced cowoker, L. L was a religious fanatic, the kind that years later looking back you go, "I wonder if she ever blew up any buildings..." On one memorable afternoon, our boss gently suggested that she check some tapes she claimed to have copied. That was standard procedure, and tactfully presented, but L took umbrage and began an incoherent rant at high volume throughout the lab. The gist of her remarks prophesied a judgement within three days. It was freaky. (If I were less experienced with churches, I would be very concerned about my dad being a member of L's church, or at least the church she attended at that time).

With the disturbing exception of L, most of our coworkers were extremely intelligent. S had finished pre-med studies and taught adjunct courses in Latin. Besides being one of the smartest people I've ever met, she was one of the most thoughtful and compassionate. I want to be like her when I grow up. She is now a pediatrician with three beautiful kids of her own.

G was an exchange student from Azerbaijan. She was fluent in many languages, but especially talented at making friends. There were always long stretches when few students were in the lab, so we had plenty of time to talk and get to know each other. It must have been hard to be so far from family and home, but G was such a fun and caring person that she would be welcomed anywhere. She is now traveling to exotic locations for business, but I am holding out hope that she will work in a trip to our less-than-exotic locale for a visit soon.

M was the child prodigy of our group. He, and later his buddy, C, joined us while they were still in high school. Even then, they were proficient in French, German and Spanish as well as English. M fascinated me because of his social skills. He could talk with anyone and make that person feel comfortable. I was painfully and awkwardly shy at times, but he never lost his aplomb. Well, maybe except for one time. He was reading a magazine in Spanish and didn't recognize one word, so he asked me to translate. It was the word for penis. It was the only time I remember him slightly flustered (I was amused).

Religious discussions within the group were always enlightening. Our boss and G had grown up as atheists, M and C were UU, and S I believe was Catholic, although I don't recall for sure. And L, I believe identified as Pentecostal or Charismatic Christian. My sister in law and I could also be identified as Pentecostal/Charismatic Christian, I suppose, although I think we would both prefer to just be known as Jesus-lovers and people-lovers. (I cringe a little at the association with fruit-loops like L, but I do believe strongly in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, in the supernatural, in speaking in tongues, etc.).

Wow-this has been long and rambling. I'll wrap up by saying that M, C and of course SIL all came over for dinner during the holidays. It was wonderful to catch up with them and see how they have grown and the successes they have earned. I am glad that they were and are part of my life. There are some other thoughts, too, but ment for a future post.


Heather said...

Ack! Sorry about Joel's hair! And yes, from experience I can say that it does grow back! lol

Tina said...

How great to get together with old friends. They sounds wonderful. I so wish I could speak more than 1 language.