Posted by: gdevi | January 25, 2016

War of the Chargers

After I finished teaching and office hours, I went to the Salvation Army to tutor my third graders. It was so lovely to see them all! They ran over to me–M and L–and hugged me one on each leg. Ms. Gayatri, you are back, they said. Yes, I said. It is so good to see you both, I said. One of the other third graders in my group will not be coming to the after-school program this semester–she has something else at the school. So I got M’s brother today in my group. M’s brother, “O” is in the fifth grade. Oh, no, O cried when the coordinator asked him to come to my group. I don’t want to be with her, he pointed at his sister; I don’t want to be in her group. Why is that, O? I asked him. She is terrible, the brother replied! Why do you say that, I asked him. How is M so terrible, I asked him. She tortures me, he said. She takes all of my things. There are many things in my room she wants, he said. Yes, I am terrible with him, M turned around and told me. Is that right, I asked her. Yes, M. said; I do take his things. I take his charger, she told me. Ah, I said. Chargers are holy, I said. If you take someone’s charger, you are itching for a fight, I told her. Stay off of your brother’s charger, okay?

Each new technology brings with it its own brand of territoriality. Chargers. Amazing. Even in airports, I see people giving dirty looks to folks who sit near the electrical outlets and monopolize charging stations. It is as bad as parking between two spots or cutting across without signaling, or breaking a queue, or any one of those social faux pas. Monopolizing charging outlets or taking someone’s charger is the new uncool thing to do. People will give you dirty looks.

I noticed today that M was reading her book about an inch away from her face. I asked her to put the book down on the table at a regular reading distance. She did and she couldn’t read. I told the program coordinator to let her folks know when they pick her up this evening that they should take her to an optometrist urgently and get her eyes checked out. She appears to be terribly nearsighted.


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