I’ve had my iPhone for about a month now. And hardly anybody calls me! That’s because I didn’t really give out my phone number to very many people. Then, suddenly, yesterday and today, my phone keeps ringing with phone numbers that I don’t even recognize. Everyone was calling for Tina. “Tina Who?” I wondered. Finally, today, the woman on the other end asked to confirm the number that she dialed. It matched my phone number to the digit. Why else would we be talking to each other? She said that was the phone number that Tina gave to all her friends. I was getting tired of being Tina’s answering service, so I told this woman, “When you finally get a hold of Tina, would you please tell her to call everybody back and give them her correct phone number? I’m tired of getting all these phone calls for Tina!” She laughed, but I thought I would surely be bombarded by phonecalls. Well, since that conversation, no one has called for Tina. In fact, no one has called me at all. I’m starting to miss Tina’s friends.
I just received a very disturbing phone call. Well, maybe not all that disturbing, but it made me think. A Mexican female–I could tell by her accent when she spoke Spanish–called and asked for Señor Rodríguez? Señor David Rodríguez? At first, I thought it was one of the Spanish TAs asking about a solution to a problem while teaching at UIC. But I didn’t know this woman at all. Our entire conversation was in Spanish. The more I spoke as I answered her questions in Spanish, the more engaged she became in our conversation. Then, she asked me if I spoke English. If I was bilingual. I answered yes and yes. In fact, I told her, I was very fluent in English. She sounded very disappointed. I guess I spoke Spanish well enough for her to think that I didn’t speak English. Apparently she was trying to gather students for an ESL class. I think I hurt her feelings because I spoke English–but not to her. This comes as quite a surprise to me because for my entire life almost everyone I ever met insisted that I speak English. And today I finally met someone who was disappointed that I already spoke English.
The meaning of Labor Day has changed over the years. When I was a boy, Labor Day meant that I would start school the next day. Labor Day always fell on Monday and we always went to school for the first day on Tuesday. Nowadays, my sons start school the week before Labor Day. However, they do not attend classes on Labor Day because it’s a national holiday. I think children should go to school on Labor Day so the hardworking parents can relax after having enjoyed their children at home, all day, all summer. That would follow the true spirit of Labor Day!