| Everything’s Coming Up Rosen

Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: As we watch the demise of newspapers

Posted on 04 December 2014 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Here’s how I know that “The Holidays” are imminent and that “the season” is upon us.

I am “this close” to having to hire a derrick to lift my newspapers up from my front door. Pregnant as they are with advertisements — the very same kind that bulk up my mailbox and almost cause my e-mail to crash, I can’t help but wonder how much longer we, who love to “hold” and “coddle” a newspaper, will be privy to that particular predilection.

And how much longer will we continue to fell trees to indulge the excessiveness of waste when there is a perfectly viable alternative.

For so long have I resisted reading newspapers online, but that resistance is merely a function of an age-long habit. Once I’m booted up, I realize how very much more civilized it is to read off the screen.

This is particularly true if you are, as I am, a lifelong reader of any standard-sized daily newspaper: New York Times, L.A. Times, Wall Street Journal et al. And I keep wondering if everyone reading them goes through the same ugly contortions that I do.

If I read it at a table, the table must be one that is the same (or close) circumference as the length of the paper, in which case I find myself stretching my neck, to see the top or having to stand up to read it, plus having to engage the assistance of a magnifying glass. Or, I find myself folding pages to a more accessible size, a most frustrating and time-consuming task often ending in a hodge podge of newsprint in non-sequential order, and hands that look like I just emerged from a coal mine.

While sitting down in my “comfy” chair, I often try to indulge in a newspaper read, but the process sucks the “comfy” out of the chair. Again comes the folding and stretching and fluttering and stubborn pages that require two hands to unmangle the aberrant folds. And oh, the “continued on page …. X. Isn’t that a precursor to road rage?

And when I see those folks on trains do the “commuter half-fold gig” on their newspapers, I watch with awe as they maneuver their readings and almost always seem surprised when they actually DO alight on the proper continuation of material in which they are so passionately invested.

And by the way, where were editors when the class was taught “less is more?”

And why is it that a convenient newspaper format often referred to as tabloid gets so little respect that all major national newspaper are reluctant to copy that format? As you are holding this paper in your hands, it is not necessary to indulge in acrobatics in order to comfortably turn its pages.

And so, in summation: Standard-sized newspapers represent a throwback to the dark ages, especially in this day of digital competency and awareness of the environmental consequences of bulk waste. And since the powers that be in daily newspaper circles have not succumbed to the tabloid, it is easy to see how online reading will be de rigueur within only a few years.

Meanwhile, in order to maintain our free society we NEED newspapers to survive even as they are tottering on the brink of seismic changes. So read the ads, be sure to recycle them, buy only what you can afford, and become accustomed to “logging on,” cause times, they are a-changing.

And have yourself a very Merry Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, Winter Solstice – and whatever else you celebrate.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Be careful, be grateful

Posted on 06 November 2014 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

When you get to a certain age – you have two daily mantras – subliminal words that run through your head like watermarks on stationery: 1) Be Careful  2) Be Grateful.

Regarding the “Be Careful” echo – it repeats in my head with every step I take, every rotation of the four wheels on my car, and every recall of the crazy kinds of accidents having befallen many of my friends and acquaintances.

Always one to have rashly taken risks – be it rock climbing, white water rafting in turbulent waters, traversing rope bridges across deep canyons in the Himalaya Mountains, biking in challenging terrain or any number of other youth oriented adventures, I have happily accepted the “BTDT”* (Been There Done That) motto that has me taking pleasure now in “looking at the pictures.” And since I aspire to becoming the oldest healthy walking-onmy- own-steam with full cognition person — I know that I have to do my part in helping towards that goal, while counting on a major contribution coming from that mysterious source often referred to as God. Thus, “being careful” for starters – is a no-brainer.

Being thankful is even easier. I marvel with gratitude at the elegant stroke of fate that placed my parents in the U.S.A. at the time of my conception. And everything flows from there. My car accident? I wasn’t hurt nor was anyone else. I salvaged my car. My completely turned-around life since becoming a widow last year? I view it as a new challenge, a way to keep good memories alive, to adjust to being alone, to learning how to celebrate mindfulness and to reach into my own cognitive resources to find ways to live a fulfilling life. And what’s a fulfilling life? My friend Barbara once summed it up for me : “Every day, I try to do something for someone else and something for me.”

I’m grateful that every ache and pain I have is liveable. I have learned to view them as friends to greet and dismiss every morning as I distract myself from awareness that they exist and proceed with other thoughts and deeds.

I am grateful that I am not poor – and just as grateful that I am not rich. It is kind of a challenge to figure out how to juggle my spending to keep me afloat and I’ve seen too many rich people pursuing lives that they, themselves, feel to be meaningless – simply because their excess of money allows them to follow a path of ease.

I am grateful to have found my “bliss” – a balance of productivity and wanton nothingness and the tools to minimize stress.

I am grateful for oranges and beaches, and mountains and eggplant – good drinking water and showers, and lowered gas prices and national parks, TV clickers in the “off” position, healthy loving family and respectful political disagreements – for friends and solitude, and PBS and libraries — for the Wright brothers and Richard Branson – Bill Gates and Steve Jobs – the opportunity to vote and to nap in the middle of the day when I feel like it, to hate the movie that everyone raves about and OMG to be able to cook my own turkey for my family on Thanksgiving Day, and to be able to wish you all a way of seeing the glass half full. Happy Thanksgiving.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Dead at 75? Outrageous!

Posted on 02 October 2014 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Fifty-Seven year old Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is an oncologist, a bioethicist, a vice-provost of the University of Pennsylvania, an author, one of the architects of Obamacare and the brother of Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel. In the current issue of The Atlantic, he tries to make the case for “Why I Hope To Die at 75” — only 18 years hence.

Some young whippersnappers cannot conceive of how fast 18 years can fly by.

He makes the usual pitch regarding the burdensome cost to society of the care and treatment of the elderly, and then cites the lack of quality of life suffered by so many in their later years.

And so, in what seems to me to be thoroughly unconnected logic, he alighted on the random age of 75, after which he practically pinky-swears that he will not allow any kind of treatment or known cure to be administered upon his body.

HORSEWHISKERS, Zeke, I hope you got paid enough for that article to overcome the ingenuousness of your premise.

Yes, late-life lingering in conjunction with soaring costs for care, as well as the emotional toll it takes on family, is a very serious social and ethical problem, and needs to be aired openly as solutions are sought. And such a probe would have been well worth the space.

But citing a target age that suggests “you’ve had enough of life” almost sounds like it comes from the mind of a child to whom 25 seems ancient.

Oh, just wait, Zeke Emanuel, you just wait! And when you’re 75 – and perhaps diagnosed with some disease that has a high quality of life expectancy – we’ll see if you refuse treatment on the mere grounds of just being “75.”

By the time I reach 75,” he says, “I will have lived a complete life. …I will have loved and been loved … I will have seen my grandchildren born and beginning their lives, … I will have made whatever contributions, important or not, (that) I am going to make …” and more. The man thinks he is Nostradamus.

So here it is from this lucky “horse’s mouth,” Doc. You have NO IDEA what the next 18 years hold for you. And if you are lucky enough to be relatively healthy at 75, you are darn well going to welcome your 76th birthday – and beyond, even if you have some survivable ailments that slow you down. And unless you become totally dependent on others for your care, you are very likely to endure the natural aches and pains that come with aging, the changing pace of your life and the exciting challenges of making lemonade from lemons. You will still continue to “make contributions,” and to savor the “loving and the being loved,” and if you have to take a test or two , or be subjected to some kind of magic treatment that will restore some quality of life, you will likely sign the document.

No one wants to live in a state of dependency. But to curtail what can be the best years of life after 75, in order to prevent what might not happen, comes from the corners of naivety, despite even, the medical background and experience.

Problems of aging, late stage illnesses, and the whole process of death and dying need to be addressed. But deliberately looking to curtail life at 75 “because I will have lived a complete life” is just plain foolish.

I know whereof I speak!

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: I’ll take a pass – on passwords

Posted on 04 September 2014 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Am I the only person suffering from chronic password-itis?

When, where and who is the person who will come up with one single way to ID oneself in the cloud. Surely, the technology is already there. Is it possible that every time Obama goes into a new website, he needs to establish a user ID and then come up with a password (how many times can he use POTUS 1600?) which must be case sensitive, have at least nine characters, including at least one number, and it must be “STRONG?”

So, do I care if someone uses my ID to get into Amazon, Walmart, Fandango or the Ritz Carlton (oh yeah!) or any one of a zillion websites I surf regularly?

I am sick and tired of inventing passwords and changing my “user ID,” as ‘they’ recommend doing every so often. And what’s worse – if I don’t write them down immediately, poof … out of my head and I have to start all over. Time Magazine this week is touting all kinds of “cloud” statistics – but I wonder if anyone ever compiled the number of wasted hours spent on filling out the information requested in order to browse most websites? And then you make one eensy weensy typo and, bang, you have to start all over again. If, like me, you have fat fingers that mistakenly wander to adjacent letters on the keyboard, fergetaboutit … You’re doing this three and four times over.

The ‘they’s have me coming and going – and ‘they’ know everything there is to know about me already. This past week, every time I go into my email, I get pictures of hammocks, shoe racks, Italy, designer sheets and – well – you don’t have to know everything – but those were my most recent searches.

So, I wrote down my latest password for www. XYZ – It’s on a scrap of paper somewhere in the jungle of my desk. But where? Ah yes … there it is, finally. NOW what do I do with it? What do YOU do with yours? Okay, I’m feeling risky — and I’m telling! I go into my WORD DOCS and simply add (in alphabetized order) the new site and password. I have four single spaced pages of passwords, some of which I used only once, recently. Others of which I used only once seven or more years ago, and, when I try to get back into the site, my password is no longer valid. Here I go again.

Ah, but then I’m always changing one or more … and back into my DOCS I go. The clock is ticking. More time wasted. So I print out the entire four pages – and Computer be damned – I find one of those old fashioned things called pencils – cross out the old password and do a write-in with the new one.

What happened to fingerprints, voice ID, retina recognition or whatever new technology is surely in the pipelines? One year away? five years? 10? Meanwhile, I consult the four-page printout on my desk for each “open sesame” to a website. I feel like I have retro-gressed to the dark ages.

Forget Google drones, 3-D printing, computer watches – get me one universal SECURE password. Puleeeze!

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Social media to the max – Do we really want this?

Posted on 14 August 2014 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Here is the karmic confluence of events that triggered this column:

1) I have spent the last several months cursing Facebook, cursing, that is – the amount of time I have wasted – thrown it into unchartered cyberspace, down the drain — time, a major and significant commodity at my age. And, as well, feeling close to being a hostage to its magnetic lure, as one “look” (like?) begets another, and I am sucked into its inane, nonproductive and mostly socially vapid vortex.

2) Having nothing to do with the above, and because I am a fan of the author, I am about 50 pages south of completion of David Eggers’ book “The Circle,” which – purely coincidently is about the predicted long-term effect of having social media creep into our lives, squirting us with endless transparencies that can never be redacted and asking the question: “Will constant surveillance result in a more honorable (perfect?) society, as people fear to have their bad behaviors flashed onto world screens?” It also illuminates the end-game of a society which has the ability to monitor, disseminate, record and analyze every breath we take, and, eventually, every thought we entertain.

The book is not up to Eggers’ literary reputation and the writing has major flaws, but the concept is pure and prescient.

3) Today, I got caught up with curiosity about one of the meetups for which I had – eons ago – signed up. (Meetups : a group of local people who were initially strangers to each other, but who share a specific interest — meeting to enhance that interest) I followed it in maze-like fashion, dumped eventually into “LinkedIn, “another social media “darling,” and discovered two people I would like to contact and thought, “How wonderful that I can contact them and perhaps be enriched by those contacts.”

And so, as always, I land squarely in the middle, excoriating extremism, exhorting the powers that be to put the brakes on serious boundaries, while commending the existence of tools by which we can actually improve our lives. While I hope that we have not already gone beyond the slippery slope, unable to stop the rush towards the ultimate BIG BROTHER society (pssst! I think we are there already!) I am not sure that there are enough of us – and this may be generational – to foresee such a damning future.

It’s not really comfortable to sit on a fence like this. It is certainly not a sign of bold leadership, but is, in fact, a position reflecting thoughtfulness, and the avoidance of hasty decision-making often leading to disaster. It’s a slow-down and meditate and weigh-the consequences position, reflecting less passion and more mindfulness — “mindfulness,” by the way, garnering numerous powerful allies and practitioners these days.

I am not advocating the dumping of social networking – which is already beyond control. It’s more like look both ways before you cross the street against a red light. And with all those trucks barreling along the road, it is the better part of wisdom to avoid them.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: TRAVELIN’ THE OPEN ROAD – WITH ‘THE VOICE’

Posted on 03 July 2014 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

I can still recall those fanciful BSP days — Before Smart Phones – when the fun of taking a road trip – for me – was keeping the map on my lap and following it as the car wheels rotated. I’d “X” our departing point — and circle our destination – and study the names of all the towns and route numbers along the way. Blessings on AAA – and their tour books.

Excellent “navigator” that I was, I also became a historian and thespian, as I read aloud to my trusty driver from the great literary texts that related all the salient historical and recreational information about even the most obscure underpopulated hamlets along the byways.

That was “then.” But it is now 2014 –the age of “Siri” and any number of voices projected by the invisible ones. Thus, on a trip this past weekend through Central Florida with my very grown-up, No. 1 son, I had to endure his constant assurance that “The Droit will get us there.”

I hand-held his old, hidden-under-the-seat, humongous 2005 Walmart Road Map Book of the USA, flipping immediately to Florida. (MY handy accessible fold-up AAA map having been disposed of when I moved, assured by my progeny that maps were passé) I easily spotted the “Winter” town of our destination, (there’s Winter Park, Winter Haven, Winter Springs, Winter Garden) while HE was busy trying to get the Droit Talking Lady to direct us to our “spot.” Relying completely on his mantra: “The Droit will get us there,” I closed the map book and my eyes, and relaxed.

Alas, we went 25 miles out of our way before I woke up, looked around at the signs and realized that he had confused his “Winters.” (How would the Droit lady know THAT? – and I was asleep!) And so, with dogged persistence and time a-wastin,’ he managed to convey a new message to “The Voice,” as we turned back from Winter Haven towards Winter Garden, our Winter of choice. (More on that nice choice at another time.)

Some of you may love Siri and the Droit Lady. I, for one, harbor great antipathy for both. Siri doesn’t understand a word I say, despite my “elocution”– trained speech. I am sick to death with having to repeat myself to her – and then getting no response anyway. And the Droit Lady (this goes for all navigation voices, of course!) is one big nag, interrupting conversation as she engages in redundant directions and shutting up only when we need to know immediately — if we turn left or right. That’s when she takes her break!

Don’t get me wrong. I love living in the Internet age. I love what my computer can do – and even what my smartphone can do. But golly gee-whiz — I really miss my maps.

Have a happy July 4th — at home—or travelin’ SAFE.

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EVERYTHING’S COMING UP ROSEN: Ending my addictions

Posted on 05 June 2014 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

Addiction is a terrible thing. And pretty much everybody who understands it will admit that it takes great strength and determination to beat it. It’s pretty easy to just say: Get over it – or you can stop if you want to – but alas – the psycho-emotional component is a trap hard to escape.

So, there’s liquor, drugs, food and cigarettes and any number of “fetishy” things, and I’m here to report on how I found the best cure for my particular addiction(s). In a few words, I am addicted to “excess;” as in, if one (of anything) is good, two is better and three is ideal … and one addiction is not enough, combined with the inability to throw anything away, a penchant for collecting pens, elephants, old matchbooks and print articles of particular interest to me, and letters (remember letters?), and a compulsion to shop anything that says “Buy one, Get one Free.” Know ye well that this does not augur well when in the process of downsizing one’s living quarters by about 2000 square ft.

Thus, the cure … Take away that 2000 sq. ft.of living space for starters – and for sure there is some physics theory that says something to the effect that there is a limit to how much solid stuff can actually fit into a specific amount of space. And so the “tossing party” begins. We – I say “we,” but it is actually only me – “do” categories: Saving … donate … give away … sell … garbage. And here, of course, is where I break the addiction.

And then a funny thing happened to me. I became obsessed with the “garbage” category. And furiously did I dump the junk of my life, what I had thought to be the sustenance of my life — the stuff that I would have been too embarrassed to give away, donate, and certainly would not expect to sell. Why did I save this? Why did I acquire it in the first place?

You can call it cold turkey. That’s how I eliminated about 90 percent of my worldly possessions. Ah, but wait.

Then came the move — and there is still too much – and now I am dealing with having to eliminate about 90 percent of what is left – resorting to the same categories.

Soon, this torture will end. Soon, I will be settled in with just the right amount of “stuff.” And, already, I can see how effective the cure was. Retailers, marketers, hawkers of various wares, all of you out there, I give you fair warning. I am not your patsy any more. If I don’t need it, I don’t buy it. And if I need it, I buy only one.

I feel like a new person. I have shed my stuff. It’s better than taking a bath. It feels so good.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Moving and history

Posted on 01 May 2014 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

I know that I am not the only person in the world who has experienced a major house-move. I daresay that anyone reading this has or has been close to someone who has been through this “agony and ecstasy.” Why then do I feel that it is only happening to me ?

Okay, so we all go through the usual nostalgia – especially when it comes to pictures. The “kids’” baby pictures – from over 50 years ago, the celebrations and trips, and just-because-s. No selfies then. And the — OMG – Who is THAT person? She doesn’t even LOOK familiar. Why is she in so many pictures?

The wonderful thing about pictures is we never take any during our angst periods, when misery and frustrations, and anger and disappointment, take over. To look at them, one would think that life is full of “say cheese” and resulting smiles.

Of course, there are the genius examples of artwork they drew and stories they wrote, and key rings they made … to say nothing of the useless presents from all sorts of folks once bestowed with love and warmth – the ones you felt obliged to keep; and NOW how happy you are to dump them, or better, “regift” them.

But here’s what might be somewhat unique. All my life – including pre-marriage – I have saved newspaper and some magazine stories and headlines of milestone historical events. Well – not ALL of them – many! But, stupid me, I was so careless about storage. I kind of dumped them into a box in my garage and, over the years, of course, they have yellowed and withered and crinkled etc. However, there were enough that were legible and in sufficiently good condition for me to have constructed a mini history lesson in headlines — for my grandkids. Visualize: me sitting on a small stool in my garage surrounded by empty boxes and newspaper headlines: Roosevelt Elected For Fourth Term, Hitler Takes Poland, Roosevelt Dies, Truman Takes Oath, Germany Surrenders, Atomic Bomb Dropped on Japan, Japan Surrenders, Dewey Wins, (oops, mistake!), Troops To Korea, One Small Step For Man … Marley and, then, a hiatus as I was concentrating on parenting and discovering Elvis Presley and Rock and Roll Music, until: JFK Dead, Johnson Takes Office, Troops In Vietnam, MLK Assassinated, RFK Assassinated, Civil Rights Bill Passed, Watergate Break in, Nixon Resigns, Reagan Takes Office: Iran Hostages Released, Hussein Invades Kuwait, US Troops In Iraq, Clinton Elected, Blue Dress Evidence, Clinton Impeached, Clinton Acquitted, It’s The Millennium, Florida Recount, Supreme Court Declares Bush President, ATTACKED!!, Troops to Afghanistan, Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, US Invades Iraq, Largest Drop In Market Since Depression, Housing Bubble Bursts, Hillary Drops Out of Primary, Obama Elected In Historical Win, Affordable Care Act Passed, iPhone Unveiled, Oregon Recognizes Same Sex Marriage, Recreational Marijuana Legal In Washington and Colorado –

I stopped saving headlines after that. And I’ll never save them again: headlines or elephants, or matchbooks or stuffed animals, or letters. I did all that. I have switched to “minimalism.” My next move will be easy.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Life in transition

Posted on 03 April 2014 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Dear buyers-of-my-house: Soon it will be yours. I walk around – actually, I jog from room to room every day – seeing, as if for the first time, all of its contents, from the furniture to the smallest artifacts. I see 20 years of the imprint of a retired couple – not just ANY retired couple – but now, half of THIS retired couple.

I leave you with exotic sunsets, filtering through trees, reflecting in moving waters, unmatched by any I’ve seen in the most remote corners of the world. I leave you with walls that cannot talk, but, if they could, would reveal the most sacred of life lessons, secrets of living a life of contentment and joy. I leave you with seeds of compromise and balance, and realistic expectations.

I leave you with a kitchen I would like to take with me – highly utilized and productive— the alternate hub of my life. Perhaps, the scents of eggplant and kale, and mushrooms and apple, and cookies are still lingering in the air. (I cook healthy!) And the two stovetops that visitors always wondered about as in … “Why Two?” We bought it that way! And neither was neglected.

And the actual hub of my life — the office (second bedroom) with its built-in 12 ft. desk, the surface of which is hardly visible, suffocated with files and papers and 21st Century technical gadgets and built-in draws and cabinets — and TV nook. Lord! How will I ever sort it all out – and dump most of it? And you will, no doubt, choose to remove it all from the walls!

And the lush, languorous, full-bodied orchids that I attached to a tree in the back, bursting with color and sensuality in May and November, lasting for months, visitors agape at it prodigious splendor…

Of course, the view, wide unobstructed water, ducks, fairway and trees, Anhinga and Ibis in flight, meditative moments stolen from a busy life – the aha moment as you walk through the door and view the lightness that infuses the house, even in gloomy weather.

I will take some of my many hundreds of elephants from the walls, floors, jewelry cases, clothing and show cabinets – my very good luck elephants. But which ones will I “let go?” I will leave one for you to transfer the “good luck” it had given us for so many years.

Every life has its phases, and I am looking forward to the next in mine. I leave you with a happy house filled with brightness and energy, and the fluidity of new experiences. May it continue to exude the joy and love that has emanated from it all these years, for you, as it has for us.

Yours for a smooth closing.

Emily

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: What do you do when you’re bored?

Posted on 06 March 2014 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

I was sitting in the big chair getting a pedicure at the Vietnamese Nail Salon on a school holiday.

The 10-year-old son of the salon owner wandered aimlessly around the salon, closely watched by his mother and grandmother, and other working relatives. The young boy was friendly and alert, and everything about him signaled “smart.” He stopped by my chair and we exchanged a few words about his vacation and school.

And then, without any warning, he looked up at me and asked, “What do you do when you’re bored?”

Somehow, from that childish stance, I sensed a really thoughtful and serious mind; although, I had to ask him to repeat the question to give myself time to construct an age-appropriate response. And then, no! My response was un-tethered to age. I merely blurted out the unvarnished truth as if I were on a podium giving a lecture.

Bored?” I repeated “I’m never bored.”

How come?” he asked, with genuine curiosity.

Because I love my own company, and I have so many thoughts running through my head that I can seem to be doing nothing, but I am thinking all the time.”

He scrunched up his nose and leaned closer to me. “Yes, but what do you DO when you have nothing to do?”

The “thinking” part was too abstract.

Well,” I felt I owed him something more concrete. “I read, I write, I listen to music and REALLY listen, I love to invent new recipes from leftover food, I ….”

My voice trailed as he jumped up and ran to one of the back rooms of the salon, leaving me thinking seriously about “boredom.” I didn’t want to tell him that I have occasionally felt considerably more bored in the company of some people than when I am alone.

Within a few minutes, he returned with a few sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 white typing paper, which he evidently retrieved from a printer. He squatted easily at a site close to my chair and began to fold a sheet of paper very purposefully. He looked up at me quizzically.

Origami! “ he stated, “You know what that is?”

I nodded affirmatively, watching him construct – all with folds — a perfectlysquare paper box about 2” in depth with a tidy reinforced rim around it.

That’s great,” I said. “What will you do with that?”

Instantly, his mother, who was “doing” my fingernails, pulled several bills from her pocket and tossed them into the box, sending her son directly to the cash register to perform a familiar task, as they conversed easily in their high-pitched Vietnamese language.

He returned to my chair, told me his name and then felt obligated to add that it wasn’t his actual Vietnamese name, which he pronounced for me, and which I couldn’t repeat if my life had depended on it. He had no trouble pronouncing my name. We chatted about school and his favorite subject, math, and some things he could do when he felt bored.

He is one of the “dream” kids, not born here, but who will grow up to be one of our national treasures if he is allowed to remain in this country and become a citizen. And he is not likely ever to be bored.

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