When I'm not wailing about the glacial pace of state assistance or bemoaning the vagaries of fate, I like to people-watch, and do it wherever I go.
At our library recently, I got to watch two English lessons. Each lesson had a young Hispanic person being tutored by an older white person, with the English learner reading out loud as the tutor corrected his and her pronunciation. I love to see things like that, someone with a skill or talent sharing that skill or talent, and someone who wants to learn finding a way to do that.
Then at a McDonald's here in the city, I saw a young Hispanic woman sitting with a young Asian man. The lesson there was on how to access the internet and how to use email. The twist there was that it wasn't the Asian man teaching the Hispanic woman, it was the other way around. That was lovely to see--the children were eating their meals while I watched that young man's eyes light up as he figured out which buttons to push to get the email working. I wondered who he'd be emailing, then figured it would be the folks back home, as his English was quite accented.
At the beach today, there was a fisherman who had two fishing poles stuck in the sand. He spent the entire three hours we were there wandering around and between the two poles, stopping occasionally to cast out his lure on the one of them; the other one, he didn't touch at all. I wondered what he thought about, spending all that time walking around those poles and watching the ocean, if he was having fun, if he actually expected to catch anything, if he had no other way to fill his day. At one point, he stopped to chitchat with a kayaker who was taking his craft out of the water; I couldn't hear their conversation but could see they made a friendly, albeit temporary, connection.
The kayaker pulled his little boat up on the sand past the surf, then went to get a pair of wheels that he somehow attached under the boat. He then pulled the boat across the beach towards the parking lot, looking for all the world like an oversized boy pulling a bath toy.
Two other kayakers were out, paddling in a desultory manner just beyond the waves. They moved almost as slowly as the state assistance agencies KidThree and I are waiting on, floating back and forth as though all that mattered was that they were able to be bob-bob-bobbling along in the sunshine.
Two women with a girl were flying a kite, or, rather, one of the women was flying it and the other two were laughing and shouting directions. The kite hit the sand nose-in just a few yards from where I was sitting with GirlTwo, startling us but nothing more. After that crash landing, the woman flying the kite got it airborne and the three of them went running off down the beach, heading straight into the wind with the kite sailing behind them.
A man was walking along in the surf, carrying a baby girl tucked under his arm as though she were a football. The baby didn't seem to mind being held sideways--I could see her face, comically like his, and she was laughing as they went along.
There were a lot of people walking their dogs. A Weimaraner raced past with its Labrador companion; two little balls of unidentifiable fluff raced into the surf, daring it to come any further up the beach; a fat puppy explored the sand for the first time; while two elderly corgis took their constitutional while ignoring the lesser canines on the beach.
There were Americans of all shapes and sizes and colors, from girls in bikinis sunning themselves to immigrants dressed in the attire of another country, quite formal for the beach but still out enjoying the day and the weather. A raven marched by on its way to investigate a pile of seaweed while seagulls squawked overhead, wheeling and diving but not daring to bother the raven.
Here in the city, the daddy left today on a business trip. For a treat, I made a dozen chocolate cupcakes, which the kids then frosted and decorated (three each). What a mess! Strawberry frosting and chocolate frosting, along with four kinds of sprinkles. You know who is going to be mopping that floor first thing in the morning; it's covered with chocolate cake and sprinkles crunch beneath my feet as I walk across it.
Right now, all four kids are on my bedroom floor. Since it isn't a school night, they get a slumber party here in my room, with all their blankets spread out and each on his or her own pillow. GirlOne is helping BoyTwo do a puzzle of the United States, GirlTwo is playing with a toy from a Happy Meal, and BoyOne is the only one watching the video they chose. In a few minutes, GirlOne will make the younger three popcorn, even though she can't eat it herself because of her still-new braces.
GirlOne and her friends found out this past week what high schools they're all going to. GirlOne goes to a costly private school and most of her friends there are continuing to costly private high schools, but GirlOne got into Lowell, an excellent public school here with a competitive entrance exam. The guessing and the excitement are just like high schoolers getting their college notifications, or medical students on match day. BoyTwo got enrolled in kindergarten at the same school BoyOne attends, thank goodness. He's very excited about going to that school and can hardly wait. GirlTwo remains in her happy fog, sure that at three and a bit, she is also going to be going off to kindergarten in the fall. She just can't conceive of her brother doing something without her, as her life to date has been following in his footsteps, doing everything he does half a second after he does it.
I can't tell KidThree goodnight tonight, as our phones did get turned off. Blast--I hate being out of contact. Tomorrow night I go back home, then the next morning head up to the hospital to spend the day in the waiting room of the Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation clinic until someone with some semblance of authority breaks down and comes out to talk to me. I'll be the one who won't go away, who just keeps crocheting while watching everyone go in and come back out again. Just call me Madame Defarge.