Nothing makes me angrier than computers. I don’t know why, but people never seem to have that effect on me anymore. There are a couple of behaviors that irritate me, but nothing sends me into a cursing rage like technology. The phone is slow for a second and I start cursing. So, when my laptop decided to re-enable the touchscreen, which keeps moving the cursor to the bottom left corner of the screen like someone is tapping it non-stop, I spent a good half hour fighting to get it disabled again.
I can’t open the control panel because the cursor keeps moving. I can’t right click and select disable because the cursor keeps moving. I still don’t know why it turned back on, if I did something by accident or if it was an update that I never saw. I disabled a number of things on the computer though, and I don’t know which was the touch screen because it’s not labeled properly. I wonder what else I turned off, but not enough to risk dealing with all that cursing again.
My students think I get angry at them because I yell, but I yell because it works. “Rudeness is a weak man’s imitation of strength.” I am still weak as a teacher, still limited in my ability to control a class, but I’m getting better. I’m used to sarcasm and logical arguments, but those don’t work as well on children.
I find that the more I study languages, the more I love it. The little details always get me, the differences of dialect, the concept of knowing things, and knowing people. In English, saying you know someone depends a lot on the tone rather than the words. You can know someone, as in you can identify them in a group, or as in you know who they really are. In Mexico, I focused on the more in depth idea of knowing someone, mostly because it’s a term they also use for cities. The question, do you know New York City, to me, is a question of knowing it in depth. Knowing the feel and smell of the city, the dangers and havens. In Spanish, the word translates as a question of visiting the city, even for a short time.
In Chinese, the concept has gone the other way. I’m sure there are other words for it, but to know someone with the basic language means you can identify them, including actors you have never met and people you know, but not well enough to know their name. From this conversation with Oldstyle, I learned his full name.
That’s another interesting subject for me. In America, most of our names don’t mean anything anymore. It’s a word that belonged to another family member, someone famous, or a variation of the two. I personally like how common it is in the Pacific Islands to name their children something that has meaning, like Jolly, Serenity, and Joy.
In Mexico, the last name was the most important, using both the father’s and mother’s family names rather than losing the lineage. I wonder how many names have been lost in American culture because we usually only take the name of our father, or that a woman often takes the name of her husband.
For me, my name has become irrelevant. It’s a word I sometimes use so other people can call me something. With my family, I’m Jimmy, to friends, I’m James. In Mexico, I use Santiago, and here, Zhān mǔ sī. I wonder if I would care more if it really meant something, or if a name only matters when it’s earned.
Oldstyle said that he had asked his father if his name meant something, but he was told no. The source of names is always interesting to me, and yet I am so bad at them. I constantly call students the wrong name, and sometimes I don’t realize it until after the wrong student responds. I sometimes want to use the Council’s habit of calling everyone Gloria, but I actually have a Gloria in one class.
I wonder if that’s why I tend to give people nicknames. A name that suits what I know about them, especially here where information goes everywhere. A country, a hobby, or an idea I had when they were around. It’s not them, just another filter I use to understand the world I see. I wonder what the world would be like without those filters.