Thursday, December 8, 2016

Beat Down Off the Mat

I expect to get a run for my money on the jiu jitsu mat. But I wasn't expecting one off the mat this Thanksgiving when I visited a gym with Cousin of Shark Girl.

I traveled back to my hometown. Cousin of Shark Girl was at dinner, and we made plans to catch a class the next morning to roll off all that pasta and stuffing. 
Yes, pasta. We are Italian American!

Cousin and I were the first there, except for a man in his thirties, kind of oddly shaped and out of shape. He seemed out of place for a high-powered jiu jitsu class. While my cousin changed, the man, I’ll call him Silvio, asked us what we did.
                “We’re teachers,” I said.
                “What do you teach?”
                “He teaches physics,” I pointed to the curtain behind which my cousin was changing.
                “She teaches Latin,” Cousin called from behind the curtain.
                “Are you married?” We get that a lot when we visit gyms together. Most people think we are a couple, not related.
                “No, we’re cousins.”
                “Oh. I thought you were married.”
                “Nope.”
                “So . . .” Silvio hesitated. I held my breath. I knew this was going to be good. “Latin, huh?”
                “Yep.” There are basically 3 reactions I get when people find out I teach Latin:

        #1 Isn’t that a dead language?
        #2 I took that in high school thirty years ago. I hated it.
        #3 I took that in high school thirty years ago. I loved it. Let me recite something for you.

This looked like it was headed toward response #1.
                “What’s the point of that?” he asked.
                Seriously? You are not seriously asking me that? By this time, I realized that “Silvio” had some issues that I should, as a sensitive person, be alert to and compassionate about. But this just pushed my buttons. Sometimes patience is beyond my reach.
                “What do YOU do?” I asked.
                “Nothing.” he replied.
                Round 1 goes to the Latin teacher. But not a very sweet victory.