My niece was (and is) a golden child. An IQ in the high New England Football Draft Dog shirt (she’s now a doctor), exceptionally beautiful child (a modelling agency tried to recruit her), happy, cheerful, generally obedient, popular and confident. But just about impossible to discipline! I’m not saying (of course!) that there was any serious misdemeanours she was guilty of (in fact, I can’t remember anything she ever did that was really wrong), but you do occasionally have to socialise children about various behaviours, so I do remember my sister once attempting to discipline her. Embarrassing for the TSA, not me. This was back in the Stone Age of the Sony Discman and I had one in my backpack. My coworkers and I get to the Ontario, Ca. airport late at night to catch a redeye back to the East Coast. Both of my coworkers breeze right through the checkpoint but they re-xray my backpack a couple of times; then they start going through it by hand. They xray it two more times. I ask them if there’s something in particular that they’re looking for and perhaps I can help. One of the agents first tells me that they’re looking for ‘two cylindrical objects’. I had a pair of long steel bolts that was being taken back for analysis that I quickly fished out and showed to them. “No, that’s not it; these items are electrical” the agent tells me. I think, “What could I have in my bag that’s ‘electrical’ “? Then I tell them that the only electrical thing I have in my bag is a Discman. A light bulb comes on. One of the agents asks me,
To this day, stories seep out of the Family that she is a brilliant observer of people and a wickedly accurate, extremely funny mimic, and is very good at family games of charades, all of which goes with those stories of her being a good actress when she was young. I think she could have done well on the stage or indeed on screen — she was, after all, an extremely good-looking young woman. After this, I might read my bible, or check social media (or both) until the washing’s ready to hang out. Then I hang out the washing, remake the beds with fresh sheets, and watch a youtube video while I have morning tea. At some point in the day I do a big tidy, and bring in the bins. I try to exercise for 30–40 minutes before the kids come home, I have lunch, I might do some writing, and plan my lessons for the next day, or (more frequently) watch some more youtube videos.