Yesterday, I moseyed down to the end of the building to see if my neighbor, Whatsername*, had gotten the little goodie-bag I left her from the Easter Bunny. She is a pharmacist, and about, oh, 32-ish, and she is just hanging out in this dump apartment complex while her fiance finishes his year of school in Africa. He is coming home this week but he contracted Malaria right at the last minute while on safari, so her plans of meeting him halfway in London for a vacation had to be curtailed and downright cancelled. Everyone leads such interesting lives! Everyone but me, that is!
*not her real name. I can never remember her real name!
Anyway, Whatsername is brilliant and brilliantly funny, and she reminds me of me at that age only thinner, better educated, and more likely to succeed at life. In other words, absolutely nothing like me at any age whatsoever!
I had put together a little selection of cosmetics -- stuff my brother sends me, and put it all into a cute purse and hung it on her doorknob. She was quite delighted with it and shared some of it with Eliza* who is the other girl at the end of the building who is also young, hip, pretty, well-maintained and brilliant. Eliza is a school teacher. *Not her real name.
Anyway, as we were yakking away, Eliza went by and saw us in the window so she popped in and for about 30 minutes we all had a fun time with girl talk. Eliza was saying that during one of her classes, a student had received a text message that a relative had died, so she had to excuse him from the class. She said she felt so bad for him and he looked so forlorn, she gave him a spontaneous hug. Then she had to go and report herself to the Politically Correct Officer. It is absolutely forbidden these days to hug a student. She was told she wouldn't be written up for it this time but never to do it again.
Naturally we got onto the subject of teachers hugging students, and I told them that in my day, it would have been unheard of to hug a teacher! They were all sorry that kids cannot hug their teachers anymore, because of the way the world has turned, but I told them that I like the idea of a handshake to convey concern and welcome and friendliness and all that. They stared at me as if I had said we should go back to bowing and curtseying to our elders. Kowtowing and scraping.
But we had a fun and interesting talk about it. I mean, think back! You would no more hug a teacher than hug the principal! You didn't hug a total stranger just because they were standing in a group of your acquaintances. You didn't hug the lifeguard, the nurse, your doctor, most if not all of your great-aunts and other elders--they would have been offended to the core--and you would absolutely positively never have hugged the preacher or the preacher's wife! Now, at the end of the service, people line up in front of the hugging machines and cannot leave the sanctuary until they have been given the obligatory hug.
I do not know when we became this 'hug-first, get acquainted later' society, but it hasn't done us any real good! It's not like we are a friendlier, warmer nation because we run around hugging people all over the place. I prefer to wait until it MEANS something before I hug the world or a chance met stranger.
Oh, and before I forget, what is up with kids having text messaging while in class? Isn't that just bizarre? In my day we weren't even allowed to pass notes in study hall!