June 21st, 2006

dragon

Man Nearly Caught Reading



The teacher of the class I took at Johnston, Iowa, was sitting in his car in the parking lot of "Chopsticks" reading a thick book about a film director he plans to offer a course on in '97... He brought it with him when he finally decided to come in, and I'm SURE he would have read it had I not been there and motioned him to my table. Of course, we TALKED, instead of reading... neither being anti-social.

He looked at what I had ordered, picked up a menu from a nearby table, glanced at it briefly, then commented that because I had already been served, he was not getting attention, so I signaled the waiter, who just happened to glance over right then, and was behind Carl's back...

I told the fellow (to whom I'd already explained that I'd been late back to class the day before and needed to be more prompt today, even pre-paying the lunch to be sure I made it) that this was my teacher, so he'd know to serve him promptly also. Carl opened his napkin to reveal his fork and spoon, then looked around for CHOP STICKS.

I told him where a container of them were kept, and he got them himself, then proceeded to eat his entire meal with them in the same amount of time I consumed about half of mine. He did resort to his soup spoon for the last two bites of stray rice grains...

Trust me, THAT type of cultural dexterity is NOT the norm in southern Iowa's small towns, which did not even offer Chinese food when I moved here in '76.


Then there's the location thing... We were in a suburb of Des Moines, (which, yes, I know, is a really small city, but it IS Iowa's largest, and vies for intellectual leadership with Cedar Falls and Iowa City (where two of the three state universities are situated...) Des Moines has several post high schools in the area, and Ames (MOO U -- Iowa State's nickname, as it also has the veterinary teaching hospitals... is only 35 miles away.)

Ottumwa, although the largest town in southern Iowa, is NOT ANYONE'S IDEA of an intellectual hub, (although it DOES boast a symphony orchestra, which, I am assured by a man who once played second French horn there, can play in tune... )

I have NEVER seen a man reading in a restaurant in any of the local restaurants, and I've lived here since '76... Within this year, I have seen a (female) grade school student doing it, and women.


After looking for this post, I decided it needed to be a main entry, not hidden in response to the comments on Gender Bias...