February 27, 2016
This Saturday has been a very interesting day. I have had a chance to mix with the world in various situations and I cannot say I had a moment of boredom.
I was very satisfied to see that one of the subjects that have been bothering me for a while found its way in Toronto Star (if I am not wrong).
I have been wondering for a while why people are so interested in taking selfies and especially in very strange situations. It seems that Toronto Star found the answer and I will not try to plagiarize them by repeating it. I am sure anyone can try a search on Internet and found the online edition of the newspaper.
When I started this blog I decided not to discuss any of the “Isms”, like racism, feminism, and so on. Today, though, I had the possibility to witness the reverse in the first “ism” and I really need to share it.
We were on the subway, which by the way looked exactly as it looks at rush hour on a workday. It was literally packed. I rode the train on weekends before and I never saw anything like this.
However, let’s not digress. We were standing and holding the bar and it was crowded. On the seats next to us, there was a young Asian girl and an Afro-American woman around thirty, maybe thirty-five. The young girl stood up and went to the door to get off the train and a Caucasian woman, around thirty as well sat on the spot that had just become available.
The Afro-American woman frowned, mumbled something under her breath and stood up trying to get away from the Caucasian woman, but, luck have it, she bumped into me and looked straight at me.
That didn’t go well. I’m Caucasian as well, and unfortunately my skin is extremely white and I am a blond. She frowned worse than before, pushed me brutally aside with an “Excuse me!” that sounded like a curse and tried to move away.
Intrigued, my eyes followed her way through the crowd and noticed that she finally stopped when she found a spot where three other Afro-American women were gathered.
It was interesting, I must say. In my mind, I call such a reaction as racism in reverse but I have to admit that being at the end of the stick isn’t too funny.
Today, I went to two info-sessions for two master degree programs as my daughter is interested in taking both of them.
At the beginning, I was quite concerned that she was taking her mom with her, although I was delighted to see what all of that was about. When we got there, though, I relaxed. I wasn’t the only mom in the audience. There were several. When I saw a guy with his mom as well, I started feeling like at home.
The only thing that marred the experience a little was the location for the first session. The session took place in a large hall designed with a sort of chairs moving on their axis, supported only by a small bar in the middle.
Besides the meager support – I am not a small woman and I have to admit that I pay close attention to the chairs I sit on, the chairs allowed very little movement and left only ten centimeters between the back of the chair and the desks.
Now, it was clear that the chairs were designed for very thin people – the fairy people as I heard my daughter call them, but unfortunately, even though Toronto has its share of fairy people, the percentage of such people in that room was about 10 or 15. And I haven’t taken into consideration the parents, especially the mothers. With one exception, all of us were quite big and those chairs were clearly not for us.
Everywhere you looked, people were trying to find a way to sit but the only possibility was to turn aside a bit and it was very uncomfortable. Plus, the manner in which the chairs were attached to that axis that provided movement to the chair, allowed a person to turn only in one direction, either left or right, depending on the position of the chair so some of the people coming to the session had to show their back to the speakers.
I imagined I wouldn’t be able to sit in such a position for two hours with no break and I went out to the organizers and asked for a real chair, which they provided with no problems. Besides a few young girls, I was the only one that had a very comfortable session.
The second session took place in a different room with real chairs. That was a blessing as there were more speakers and it lasted longer. Nevertheless, it was more interesting and informative than the first one.
Besides that, I had the chance to witness a paradox. Among the speakers, there were two female professors with at least twenty if not thirty years distance between them. The older professor had everything organized on her cell phone: agenda, key notes and so on. The younger one sported papers. She had notes on paper as professors used to have back in my days.
If the younger one had had everything on an electronic device, it wouldn’t have mattered - it would have seem normal, but to see such an unusual switch between generations, that was something to file away and think about.
The sessions, as I have already mentioned, were very informative and especially the second one was very well planned and organized.
There were speakers that almost put me to sleep – it always happens like that when someone drones away, reading monotonously from a piece of paper. No matter how precisely they utter the words, how clear and distinct they are, I cannot follow.
There were also some good ones and they managed to keep me interested in hearing them and then there were speakers that were excellent, showing not only knowledge but also showing the gift of sharing that knowledge with the others in a manner that not only keeps your interest on the topic but keeps you riveted on your chair wishing to hear more.
Those two hours passed very fast and I must confess that I didn’t even look at the time once – during the first session, I did and several times.
When we left home in the morning, I saw that my daughter took a rucksack with her and the respective bag was full. I asked her why, as I knew we would only go to listen to some people outlining some master programs. It seems she had some clothes – to change between the sessions, notebooks and only God knows what else because I didn’t probe anymore. It was something beyond my understanding.
Along the years, I learnt not to comment anymore even if something strikes me like being very unusual. As a parent, you learn to choose battles and to skip over things that don’t have too much importance. Right now, it was not really important to make a comment. It was not I the one that had to carry that thing through a bus and two trains. So, I kept my mouth shut.
When we got to university, I was quite happy I had done so. Everybody had a rucksack and that rucksack was full. Almost everybody changed between the sessions. It was like a bloody epidemic.
It seems it’s been quite a while I haven’t visited the university district to see what young people are up to.
Anyway, between the trip to downtown and back – about an hour and a half each way, the two sessions with an hour in between which we used to walk around a little, the usual chores at home and Rex and my reading, the day was quite full.
I will see you tomorrow again. Maybe. Till then, continue to have a nice weekend.
Born sometime in the past century, living in the 21st century.
Sometimes I have good ideas... (what do you think?)
Sometimes fascinating guests!
(that for sure!)
Sometimes I have to share some of my frustrations,..
(not too tempting, huh!)
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