Monday, February 09, 2009

The Red Line

Today I taught my last class of the semester at the women's university. I used my general knowledge quiz, as the students had already done their speaking tests, and I knew they had examinations this week and would not feel like studying something that was not for a test. They had fun with the quiz, being the sort of students who are prepared to guess wildly.

At the end of the quiz I give a couple of very difficult but guessable 'bonus questions' worth so many points that the pitifully losing team can suddenly turn into THE WINNERS! WE WON! YAY!!! The answer to one of these questions was 'the equator' (although they answered the red line because they didn't know the word equator), and after the uproar died down one of the students, a sweet girl, said, thoughtfully,


"Yes?" I asked.

"Sensei, is the red line only on the map?"

She looked at me hopefully.

I had to think about it for a moment before I understood what she meant.

When I was telling The Man about this question tonight, he was enthusiastic.

"I hope you told her the right answer," he said.

"What do you mean?" I said. "What right answer?"

"Oh, the red line ... it's beautiful," sighed The Man, and his expression went dreamy and unfocussed with the pleasure of remembering. "You should try to see it one day! You look through binoculars from a distance, and ... oh ... the red ... it's so wonderful ... And from a plane, you should see it from a plane! You look down, and you have never seen anything so beautiful in your life ... "

He snapped back to speaking normally. "Like that," he said. "That's how you should have answered."

I stared at him.

"You should have been a teacher," I told him. "You did that much better than I could."

And it's true. For a moment there I had SEEN that red line, glowing on the horizon – beautiful, magical, filling me with wonder. Why had I squashed my student's idea so abruptly? I could have made her dreams so much more interesting!

How rude of me.


Keera Ann Fox said...

Hrmph. None of my maps - or flights - have that beautiful red. I feel cheated.

Hana said...

I'm afraid I just fell a little bit in love with The Man after reading this post. Don't worry though, I'm happily married and won't act on this (possibly temporary) feeling.

Kadhine said...

That was funniest thing I heard in days!!

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