Today was my 62nd birthday. That’s a big one. After 18 and 21, it’s probably the most significant birthday that doesn’t end in zero. It’s retirement age, the beginning of Social Security – in America, at any rate and, even though I don’t live there, I’ll be getting it, and damned glad of it.
Of course, it doesn’t mean I’m finished working. Writers work forever. I imagine I’ll be maintaining this blog, writing at least one tweet a day, churning out the books of poetry, and maybe even a few novels, until I die, which hopefully will be very far in the future. I just saw a headline that one scientist thinks people will start living forever from 2029. That gives me a goal. Gotta stay in it to win it.
I also intend to keep teaching English, because that’s just what I do. Money aside, it has become an integral part of my identity. Having such a sharply defined identity is a good thing. It gives me reassurance.
There was a funny moment in one class today. 4 to 6 year olds, and they were getting totally out of line. We were playing “Don’t Pick Your Nose,” which, admittedly is not a very challenging game. No more skill required than candy land. The boys were just throwing their cards all over the place. The girls weren’t being quite so bad, but they were laughing with the boys. We came to the card that says “You are sitting on a crowded bus and an elderly lady gets on. What do you do?”
I felt it was time for a change of pace, so I pulled out 4 chairs and we played bus. If I can’t teach them English, maybe at least I’ll teach them some manners.
Then, because I had a serious point I wanted to make, I started speaking to them in Czech. My point was that English may be a different language and there are lots of languages in the world, but some things are universal, and giving your seat to an old person on a crowded bus is one of them.
One of the girls was looking at me totally wide eyed and she suddenly blurted out “You speak Czech!” The lesson about international public transportation etiquette was totally lost.