Skip to main content

Zoe is Polite

We went for a walk by the river.  As an older man went past with a little dog, Zoe excitedly beelined for them.  She loves doggies, but stopped short of mobbing this one and politely asked permission to pat her.  The man was clearly impressed - Zoe is so little that it is always surprising how articulate she is.  She patted the dog and played with her, then said, “Thank you.”  He responded, “Thank YOU,” and we all went on our way. 

Mommy, she said urgently, That man said, ‘Thank YOU!’
Yes, Zoe.
He was supposed to say, ‘You’re Welcome!’

So we talked about what those words mean.  Both versions are perfectly OK.  He meant that it was a pleasure for him to meet her and talk with her, and he was thanking her for being so polite and nice.  Sometimes in the store, the cashier might say Thank You (for shopping at my business) and I might respond Thank You (for checking me out and bagging my groceries).  Or I might say Thank You to someone holding a door for me, and that person might say You’re Welcome, meaning that I am welcome to the effort he put forth in holding that door.  Zoe and I discussed these social niceties the whole way home.

The details that surprise her catch me by surprise, too, since she knows so much, and is so bright.  I give very little thought to HOW she picks things up, but it is amazing to realize how much she has learned in 34 months on the earth.   Every detail of societal interaction was, is, or will be something new for her.  Every word in her enormous vocabulary.  Every skill (she can do somersaults, now!) and every color and every rule and every story and every classic movie is something she has to experience for the first time and relate to everything else she’s seen, touched, and thought about. 

Some things we discuss, some she picks up by osmosis - but she came in knowing nothing and now she can have a polite conversation with a total stranger, about a different species (with which she also interacts appropriately).   During the minute-to-minute work of keeping Zoe occupied and fed and trying to get her to sleep, I can forget what a complete miracle she actually is.  Thanks, Random Polite Dog-Owning Stranger, for the reminder! 



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Resonance

When my students get too MOUTHY with the oboe, I put them in a corner.

Really.

They tend to play the oboe only from the TOP of their body, north of the collarbone, and it winds up unsupported.  Fussy.  Weak.  And out of tune.

So I back them into a corner, and have them stand a foot or so out from it, facing out into the room.  And I challenge them to find a sound that resonates BEHIND them, out from the corner of the room that they are not facing, to fill the space without blowing directly into the space.

It's a weird metaphor.  I wouldn't have any idea how to describe the physical technique to do it. When I find it in myself, it feels like my back is puffy and my body is round, and large, and barrel like, and also collected and zipped up, and supremely powerful.  If you know me, you know that these statements about my body aren't remotely true.  But that's what I feel when I'm blowing well, and filling the room, and owning my resonance.

I teach resonance.  I talk …

Five Minute Reedmaker: Length of the Windows

My Five Minute Reedmaker Season Two seems to be largely about experiments.  People ask me how LONG, how THICK, how SLOPED, etc - and I'm running the experiments for them and for you.

I've been posting these videos on YouTube, and sharing them from my Facebook Page, but haven't totally kept up with sharing here on my blog.

Here are the ones you may have missed:
Length of the Heart
Fallacy of the Long Tip
Moldy Cane

And here's the new one:




Here's the YouTube playlist with all of my other Five Minute Reedmaker videos.  You could subscribe right there if you wanted to - I'm dropping a video each week until I run out of ideas this season.
Here's my website, where you can order reeds or cane or ask me questions.  Questions will keep these videos flowing! 

Here's how you can send me your own reeds to analyze and improve on video for your learning pleasure!

Never Trust an Oboe, Part 2

(Part One HERE)
(Similar story HERE)

Mercifully, THIS one didn't happen to me.  But my poor student was playing an audition for his orchestra, and reached up with his right hand to turn the page of his music.  And heard a "plink".  And when, a split second later, he returned his hand to his oboe to continue playing, he found that his entire thumb rest had fallen off onto the floor, leaving only the post it had been mounted to.

With his hand now contorted uncomfortably, he finished the audition - ably, I am sure - and tracked down the crucial little piece of metal.  Evidently the screw that secures the adjustable thumb rest into its most optimal position had come out - never to be found again - so the thumb rest itself now can escape at will.

He devised a workaround - teflon tape to keep the thing in - but let this be a lesson to all of us.




Seriously, the oboe is not your friend.  It's like a cat trying to slip out the door - it's just WAITING for an opportunity …