I have always enjoyed knowing people who don’t easily fit into neat categories. Pandemonic, who may be my sister in a cosmic order, refers to such people as “affinity group jumpers.” My wife and I fit into this paradox group; we raised our daughter to be such a creature. Mama (my daughter) and Mommy (my daughter’s out of law partner) are raising Random Granddaughter to be an affinity group jumper as well.

I have had seventeen full-time jobs during my life; I fit in none of them well. In January I turned 65 and retired from my last job, teaching computer classes for a large library system. As part of my duties, I trained and placed volunteer teachers. Some of the volunteers were wonderful; some of the volunteers were confused or irritating.

Two of the volunteers I found particularly wonderful and I hoped to keep in touch with them after retirement. Recently I asked Mama and Mommy to host them for a brunch at the mommy’s house. My wife sniffed that I was taking advantage of the mommies; I admitted it, but as the mommies have several friends around the world from my daughter’s Pearson College days (an international school in Canada), as well as friends from their Oberlin days and from my daughter’s graduate school at Cornell days, I thought everyone will be congenial, though I am telling everyone they don’t have to.

So today (Saturday), we are heading out to meet with everyone including Mary, from Peru, and S and R from Romania.

I have written before about Mary. Her name is Mary instead of Maria because her father likes American movies. One of her sisters is named Vivian (after Vivian Leigh; her other sister has a Russian name. All the girls in her family gain excellent education. One of her sisters is a child psychiatrist; the other sister has a doctorate in linguistics. Mary’s high school counselor told her, “You are good at math; you should become an accountant.”

Mary, who is very polite and very determined, thought, I don’t want to be an accountant; I want to become an engineer. After getting an undergraduate degree in Peru, she came to the United States and got a graduate degree in industrial engineering at the University of Washington. She now works for a big utility company and last year she gained her American citizenship.

I am a little reluctant much of the time to use real names so I will refer to my other volunteer as S and to her husband as R. S and R are from Romania. They first went to Canada where R worked as a programmer and S worked as a technical writer. When Microsoft offered R a job, they helped him get a work permit. S could not get an American work permit, so she worked for the library as a volunteer trainer. I have yet to meet R, but as S is very intelligent and charming, I assume that anyone she married is also intelligent and charming.

S became bored with volunteering and wanted to get a job. She kept applying and getting turned down. She and another candidate would be the finalists. As the other candidate was an American citizen, companies would consider it to much trouble to bother with getting A a work permit.

As does my daughter’s Finnish friend, R speaks English much better than many Americans.

Finally, she enrolled at the University of Washington, got a graduate degree (something like an MBA, but slightly different). Shortly after her graduation, the UW hired her.

Today, my wife and I, Mama and Mommy, Random Grandaughter, Mary, and S, and R will meet for brunch at the mommies’ house.

RG has recently been diagnosed at super-intelligent. All the other people I just named are also very intelligent, much more intelligent than I am. I envision that as all these very intelligent people gather in the mommies’ house, a glow will begin to surround the house, some sort of critical mass of intelligence and good nature (because all the people I mention are not only intelligent by very kind and sweet as well) will be achieved and some sort of astounding event may take place.

On the other hand, perhaps we will all just have a very good time. RG may be a little cranky, though, because Friday she went in to the doctor for her five-year-old checkup and had four shots. Four shots would make me cranky, anyway.

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