Helen (heleninwales) wrote,


One size does not fit all

G was telling me the other day about a colleague who, because the course they taught was receiving European funding, had been asked to give their students a questionnaire. There were various questions along the lines of, "How will this course help you in your career?" etc. And then one question asked, "Where do you see yourself in 5 year's time?"

Once student answered, "In the cemetery."

As the student in question was well into his 80s, he was being realistic rather than morbid.

I like to think I'm a good neighbour, but...

Our neighbour on one side is an Iranian Bahai who, since her son grew up and went to university, lives alone. She is very nice, but... (you knew there was a "but" coming, didn't you?) ... she can sometimes be a little troublesome. Not in the usual ways neighbours can be troublesome, but she has a tendency to panic over things and knock on our door needing moral support. Like the time she thought a bat had flown in through the window, for example.

Anway... G was off out to teach his evening class and he'd barely shut the door behind him when he was popping his head back in saying, "M has lost her key. Can you help her find it? I have to go."

So I got our battery operated lamp and gave it to her and she quested up and down the path, looking into the grass. Of course it was pitch dark, so the chances of finding a solitary key in the grass were as near zero as makes no difference.

Then a nice elderly gentleman, also bearing a torch, came up to us. He'd given M a lift home from a meeting and when they'd arrived at her door, she'd realised that the key was gone from her bag. She quested up and down the path some more. Elderly gentleman and I debated the possibility of getting a locksmith at that hour of night.

And all the time I'm thinking, "I'm going to have to offer her a bed for the night. She hasn't anywhere to go. But I don't want my neighbour in my house! I have things to do this evening and I have to go to work early in the morning! But she hasn't anywhere to go. I'm going to have to offer her a bed for the night. Aaarrgh!"

Fortunately, the story has a happy ending. A couple of random remarks led elderly gentleman and myself to think about the possibility that the key was in the bag all the time. Perhaps it had slipped into the wrong pocket? M was doubtful, but I invited her in and in the better light of our hallway, she emptied out her bag. Even then it looked as though the key really was lost, but at the very last moment, she found the key -- which had slipped into the wrong pocket.

*Sighs of relief and rejoicing all round.*

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