Vignettes – The First

Last night, was the second class.

A lot happened: A funny incident before class related to offense or perceived offense, getting to know fellow students and the focus of the class now moving away from the teacher, realizations that Apple computers has lost touch with their customers (or maybe just me as a customer) and finally, what I am finding out about writing and myself (the ultimate cliché).

I see a lot of similarity between writing and creating sculpture. Every sculpture that I create gives me ideas for yet another 5 sculptures. The same is now starting to happen in writing. Each journey opens as yet to be explored avenues.

In sculpture, I make a bookmark by creating a drawing or adding the idea into the present piece. Sometimes, I will complete the current piece and create a related piece based on what I have learned. I may even destroy the original piece if I feel that the new pierce says everything that the ‘original’ said or more commonly, failed to say successfully. The more I create, the more I want to create.

So much happens in each class that I decided to write a series of incidents (or vignettes) as well as the blog report on each class. That will permit the writing about each class can remain more tightly focused.


So, let’s start with the first vignette.


Vignette 1, or as H. G. Wells would say “Vignette the First”

This vignette actually starts before class.

I need to connect my computer to the Wi-Fi at GMU and so I find an unused class room. A female student walks in and after asking if she can use the room, realizes that I am in her class.

An older male student enters.

She is there because she wants to read. I am there to veg. He is there to talk. I always feel sorry for people who are seeking someone to talk to; it is a sadness signaling a void. Being an introvert who feels that he must be an extravert makes me see it that way.

So, the male student is talking about reading and asks if we can read fast as he is finding it a problem in his studies. This is a really great question to ask fellow students. It helps you work out your baseline, i.e. to define what you know and what you need to learn apart from classwork.

The student continues to talk. “I wish I could read like old people”.

The female student grimaces.

She perceives an insult or insensitivity to me.

I laugh.

I am not at all offended. I wear my age like a badge of honor.

I am now older than most of the people who I always thought of as being old. I have outlived my father; I am now older than my father was when he died.

My father retired at 60 and was dead at 63. I have always tried to do better than my father. If I live longer than 3 years after I retire, that is something I will be proud of. If I don’t outlast him, I will be dead and certainly the disappointment will not kill me.

I have lived longer than I expected, and by looking at my pension and doing calculations, I can state emphatically that the insurance company expect me to live another 12.5 years. Seems short until I remember how much I have done in the last 12.5 years.

My family longevity is into their 80’s. My mother is 88, so I should have a good 20 more years ahead of me. My wife’s mother is 96, so there is a good possibility that we will still be together in our 80’s, albeit doing a lot of things (including reading) a lot slower.

I have only just started to be old, and I will be getting older every day. In fact, every day, I intend to get older by one more day.


At my age, one starts to get age markers, like certificates of merit.

The greatest thrill for me was going to the metro and getting a senior metro pass. It signified a sort of freedom. A freedom to get on the metro and go somewhere for no other reason than I could; a freedom to travel on the metro when I want because I am no longer slotting a life around 40 hours of non-life. It was like buying an airline ticket for a journey. This journey will be for the rest of my life.


So, call me old. I am old and proud of it.


Yesterday, my Medicare card arrived.



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