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Has A Creepy Ring To It

, , , , , | Working | January 19, 2018

(I have been in contact with a local artist and jewelry maker to make a pair of custom wedding rings. We met in person a while ago to go over what I wanted, at which time she told me she would need to eventually take my engagement ring to make tracings, due to its unique shape. We then spend the next few weeks emailing back and forth to try to coordinate meeting up again, but due to the fact that she lives 45 minutes from where I work and over an hour from where I live, this is proving to be difficult. Finally, we get to this point…)

Artist: *in email* “Okay, why don’t you just mail me the ring? My address is [address].”

Me: *in email* “I don’t know that I’m comfortable mailing you my ring. I’m worried it might get lost or stolen. Can I just drive up after work on [date] and give it to you?

Artist: *in email* “Sure! Just leave it in my mailbox.”

(I decide this would be all right, so on the day I promised, I drive up to her house. When I get there, I see she is actually home and outside in her front yard, close to the street, so I approach her.)

Me: “Hi, [Artist]!”

Artist: *not recognizing me* “Hi… Can I help you?”

Me: “I’m here to drop off my ring. I wasn’t expecting you to be home.”

Artist: *suddenly clicking* “Oh! [My Name]! I didn’t recognize you. Sure, let me take that.”

(A few weeks go by, and she emails me again to say the rings are done and that she will be in [Town where I work] on a day that week. We arrange to meet in a café at a specific time. I walk to the café and get there a few minutes early. I quickly spot her, but she is sitting with who I assume is another client, talking. The tables are very small, so instead of trying to butt my way in to their meeting, since I am early, anyway, I grab a table right next to theirs and wait for her to be done. I make eye contact with her just as I’m sitting down, so I assume she has seen me and will be done soon. I order tea, and the time we were supposed to meet passes. Finally, I overhear this part of their conversation.)

Artist: “Yeah, she should be here any minute.”

(I freeze, realizing that she didn’t recognize me when we made eye contact, and hasn’t seen me despite me being at the table right next to them. I am about to get up and say something to her when she continues…)

Artist: “She’s so funny. We only met once in person, and then she just showed up out at my house, completely unannounced, expecting I would know who she was!”

Client: “Oh, that’s… kind of creepy.”

(I can’t believe what I am hearing! She is talking about me to a complete stranger and making me out to be a creep! I have no idea what I should do at this point… If this stranger already thinks that I’m a creep, what will she think if I stand up and reveal I have been sitting right behind them and eavesdropping this whole time? I keep sipping my tea and consider just leaving, until…)

Artist: “[My Name]?!”

(I looked up and they were both staring at me, so I immediately jumped up and came over to their table. I quickly got through trying on the rings, writing a check, paying for my tea, and leaving, all while trying to be as friendly and not-creepy as possible!)

To Art Is Freedom

, , , , , , | Learning | January 15, 2018

(I am giving a high school lecture about Japanese pop culture. It involves drawing manga. At the end of the lecture, the kids are allowed to create their own art. One of the kids is the typical “bad boy”: he’s never picked up a pencil, never interacted, and he’s in trouble all the time. After the lecture, we chat a few times as I try to give him ideas and get him to work. It isn’t particularly effective. When I am next in the front of the class, the boy suddenly comes up to me.)

Boy: “If I want to draw a superhero, is that okay, too?”

Me: “Of course! You can draw whatever you want!”

Boy: “But how would I draw his face, then?”

(I walk to the whiteboard and grab a marker. I actually repeat the whole lesson I have just given about drawing a basic manga-style face.)

Boy: “I can’t draw that.”

Me: “Sure, you can. How about you try it? This is a whiteboard; if it fails, we can just erase it.”

Boy: “Nah, I can’t do that.”

Me: “Then, do what you can. What can you draw?”

Boy: “Well, this…”

(The boy draws a superhero, barely more than a stick-figure.)

Me: “Not bad. How about you try this?”

(The boy follows the tips and keeps on drawing… and drawing… and drawing. Soon, the whole whiteboard is filled. I even remove my own drawings so he has more space. The teacher sees this and walks up. I know she is very open-minded, and she nods approvingly.)

Teacher: “You know what, [Boy]? Take a picture of this and put it in your report.”

Boy: “I’m not done yet.”

Teacher: “Then by all means, go ahead! Don’t forget to put a picture of it in your report, so I can grade it.”

(The boy continues his work and after class, the boy takes a picture of it. When the kids are gone, we evaluate the lecture, and the teacher tells me more about the boy.)

Teacher: “He lives with his father, who thinks art is a waste of time. This might be the first time he has drawn since elementary school.”

(Elementary school would have been two or three years ago for this boy.)

Me: “He does seem to like to draw.”

Teacher: “And this is the first time I have seen him express himself. I don’t care that he didn’t use traditional inking techniques or even manga-style; he drew!”

(At that moment, the boy pops in from the hallway.)

Boy: “You didn’t erase it yet?”

Teacher: “Of course not! I want to enjoy this masterpiece for as long as I can!”

(It was the last lecture I gave at that school, so I don’t know what became of that boy, but this teacher really inspired me. Even now, about five years later, I use the phrase: “Focus on what you can, not what you can’t.”)

Keeping The Speech Light

, , , | Working | December 19, 2017

(I’m a stagehand setting up for a large musical. Some of the people working are very inexperienced. There’s a lull in the work. I’m sitting on a roadcase to get off my feet for a minute, and everyone has randomly arranged themselves into a semi circle facing me.)

Me: “I feel like I should make a speech! But I’m not going to.”

(They all stare at me expectantly.)

Me: “Okay! Let’s hang some lights! Do up safeties and pull shutters!”

A Small Voice: “Uh… what’s a shutter?”

Me: “Okay! I’m glad I made my speech. Let’s go do Light Anatomy 101.”

(I’m glad she asked!)

It’s An Old Joke In A Snowstorm

, , , , , , , | Learning | November 24, 2017

(I am in art class. The teacher has asked us to draw an animal similar to how they were drawn in the Stone Age. The teacher comes around to make sure we did the assignment.)

Student: “Look at mine.”

(He shows me his paper and it’s blank.)

Me: *joking* “Yeah, it’s a polar bear in a snowstorm.”

Teacher: *coming over* “Let me see what you have.”

Student: “It’s a polar bear in a snowstorm.”

Me: “…”

Teacher: “…”

Me: *to the student* “I was joking when I said that.”

Teacher: “Extra point for the title, but I’m marking the assignment as missing.”


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Painting A Picture Of Mild Obsession

, , , , , , | Learning | November 15, 2017

(During the two last years in high school in Germany, you pick two classes as your “major,” for which you have more hours per week and exams count most during graduation. I pick art, and since only nine other people do, and we are all genuinely interested and enthusiastic, and as this is the first art major ever at this school, our art teacher makes class a lot of fun while also educational. For our final project, he allows us to each paint a mural on sections of the walls of his classroom. We get really into it and often spend not only class hours but also breaks painting. One day we go a bit too far, though.)

Art Teacher: “Okay, guys. Class is officially over. Pack up your brushes and clean up.”

Student #1: “But I just need to finish this bit! I’ll never be able to mix this colour right!”

Me: “I just got into the zone! Let us stay!”

Art Teacher: *sighs* “Okay, you can stay for break, but after that I have another class in here, so have everything cleaned by then!”

(We promise, yet somehow forget. Not a problem, since the next class has to be shifted to another room for whatever reason, and our teacher completely forgets about us staying during break. Ninety minutes later, after finishing his class, he comes back into the room to find us still painting.)

Art Teacher: “Wait, you’re all still here?! Do you have a free period right now?”

Me: “Uh… No. We forgot.”

Art Teacher: “You forgot to go to your classes because of painting?!”

Student #2: “Oops?”

Art Teacher: “I’m going to get into so much trouble for this.”

Student #1: “Can’t we just all say we skipped class?”

Me: “Yeah, nobody knows we were in here. We could’ve just gone to get fast food or something.”

Student #2: “Yeah, it wouldn’t be fair to get you in trouble for us messing up.”

Art Teacher: “I’ll pretend I didn’t hear this conversation, but I’ll also not talk to the principal or your other teachers until tomorrow. You guys decide whatever you want to do.”

(We agreed to stick with the lie of skipping class, and we all got detention for it. Retrospectively, I have to wonder if our art teacher told the principal the truth, though, since detention mysteriously got scheduled in the art classroom, so we could just spend it painting even more. I went to visit our art teacher years after graduating, and our murals were still there.)