Thinking With Your Brain By Landing On Your Butt

, , , , , , , | Learning | March 22, 2019

I teach at a Montessori school, and one day, I was standing by the classroom door watching and greeting the kids as they left for their next class. As they were walking, a little boy bumped into a little girl and she fell down, landing on her buttocks. This girl is a child who easily cries, and the little boy watched her as her face started to crumble.

Normally, what would happen: the girl would cry and most probably come and complain to me that the little boy pushed her and she fell and got hurt. I could see that it was an honest mistake that the boy bumped into her and in my mind, I had already started thinking about how I was going to handle the situation.

I’m not kidding about what happened next. The little boy looked me straight in the eye and, less than a second later, threw himself down on the floor, landing on his buttocks, as well. He got up, slowly rubbing his back, and went over to the little girl and held out his hand to help her up. He said, “I’m sorry, [Little Girl]. Seems like we bumped into each other. Oh, no!”

The little girl was definitely looking slightly shocked. but she took his hand, got up, dusted herself off, and said, “Oops, sorry!” They walked off, smiling and waving goodbye to me. I was standing there with a stupefied expression, wondering just what the heck had happened.

That little boy is a genius. He avoided a scene and he knew it. This incident took place in literally a few seconds. The intelligence of children never fails to amaze me.

Strange Times At The Used Car Lot

, , , , , | Working | March 19, 2019

(I am at a used car market which is basically a free-for-all, buy-at-your-own-risk affair. I am an ethnic Chinese woman, and it looks like there are no other people of East Asian descent or women shopping alone. This is a collection of some of the characters.)

Me: “Can I start the car and see how it runs?”

Old White Guy: “Why?”

(Another instance:)

Me: “Would you take R55,000 for this?”

Guy: “No, but can I have your number?”

(Another instance:)

Old Indian Guy: “My son is a dealer. I’ll give you his address. Don’t buy cars from black guys; a lot of them are stolen.”

(Another instance:)

(The reaction of multiple guys when I ask about maintenance issues:)

Them: “Do you have a husband/brother/father at home?”

(Another instance:)

Young Indian Guy: “Hey! Over here! I have the perfect car for you!” *points at a tiny, ugly, subcompact of an unfamiliar make I have to Google*

Me: “Do you think I’m going to buy some random China car just because I’m Chinese?”

Back Up The Backup Of The Backup’s Backup

, , , , | Working | November 1, 2018

(My brother’s external hard drive has crashed/malfunctioned. We take it back into the store to see if they can repair it, recover the data, or get a refund. This is before cloud storage is a common, affordable backup option.)

Brother: “This hard drive isn’t working anymore, and I was wondering if you could fix it or recover the data I had stored on it.”

Salesperson: “We’ll see what we can do, but remember, you should always have a backup of your data!”

Brother: “Well, this was my backup of the information stored on my computer.”

Salesperson: “Yes, well, you should always have a backup just in case!”

Brother: *to me* “Does she expect everyone to have a never-ending chain of backup hard drives for their backup hard drives?”

(Luckily, despite not being able to repair it, the store issued us a refund and let us keep the drive. We found someone else to extract the data from it!)

They’re A Crafty Bunch

, , , , | Friendly | August 16, 2018

Friend #1: “I didn’t know there were this many white people in Durban!”

Me: “We’re at a craft beer festival.”

Friend #2: “It’s, like, their habitat.”

Careful, They’ll Be Watching You

, , , , | Working | July 2, 2018

(In our weekly lab meeting, one of my colleagues is presenting a complicated experimental plan with a lot of procedures over the course of several days.)

Boss: “You’re putting yourself at risk here by having so many steps. Every step you take…”

Me: “Every move you make?”

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