I need to write more and more often. So here’s a start. Again.
Naomi Shihab Nye, our keynote poet who gave me a pre-print of her upcoming book as well as a hug, based another work purely on interactions with taxi drivers.
I was the lone passenger on my ride back to the airport from the hotel. Although, the driver tried to get me some help with the fare as he pulled over at a corner to see if the couple waving him down wanted to get to a plane. It turned out they just needed a lift to a bar, a different direction and a different priority. My driver called dispatch for them.
He asked me what I do. I told him that I am a teacher. He asked what I taught.
I teach physics, I told him.
Really?! He told me I looked young to be a physics teacher.
(I didn’t bother to say I was a professor.)
I told him that people had been telling me that for a while. But I’m getting older.
We all are, he told me, laughing a little.
He clarified: he thought I’d have gray hair, a beard, and maybe a demeanor to go with it. I think he was picturing a tweed jacket, too.
I told him that I know lots of people like that.
Later he talked about teaching in general, and his friend who teaches but has a hard time getting respect from the kids.
Maybe if he had a gray beard he’d get more respect?
He thought that maybe that would help.