started teaching a new student last night.
he is a production engineer working in a sundried tomatoes manifacturing company; he is about 35 and looks very much like a starved and shaved version of jeremy irons.
mind you, jeremy irons is rather skinny for starters... so this guy looks kind of terminally ill.
we had a two hour one to one conversation lesson and after about three minutes i realised he was a bit of a basket case.
for the whole two hours he made a point of looking at the wall opposite to where i was sitting - meaning... i was basically speaking to the back of his head. a rare experience, so to speak!
i tried to break the ice with the usual smile and the standard opening "so... it is the first time we meet... can you tell me a little bit about yourself, what you do, what you like to do in your spare time...if there is anything you prefer to talk about..."
the answer to that went on for what felt like too long and i kept on smiling and responding with very quiet... "i see"..."right"..."i understand"..."alright"..."ok"..."of course" - while kind of feeling he was:
1. either pulling my leg
2. promising material for some raymond carver-type of short story.
he spoke with a slight stutter and a very narrow accent that made him sound kind of ukranian.
his hands clenched together under the table and his head turned he explained:
"i was born and brought up in izmir. i am a food engineer, my job is very stressful and about quality control. you might think it is interesting but it is not. i like english language. in english i know 3,025 words and i know many idioms. i want you to teach me idioms. i can memorise idioms...-easy for me. i live with my wife. she is a food engineer too. but most importantly i live with my kitty cat, Ada. ada is deaf. she is deaf because she is from ankara. all cats from ankara are deaf. it is a genetic disorder. i suffer from a disorder too. a chemical disorder. that's why i calculate all the time. i need numbers. i make calculations all the time... i cannot live without it... i calculate about the lift, about the birds flying, about the cars passing, about my steps, about my breathing, about the cigarettes i smoke, about my english. i am taking many medications for this. plus...i have obsessive compulsive disorder too.
after such a promising start - the first remark i made seem to disappoint him.
"you know, david beckham suffers from o.c.d. too - i read it in elle magazine"
after that - i kind of got some points back in taking an interest in ada...
"i was wondering if really all (all) cats from ankara are, as you were saying - 100% deaf and in 100% of all cases"
to which he responded enthusiastically - staring at his shoes instead of the wall.
when i asked "how did you meet your wife?"
he shot back - "it happened like in the rapunzel fairytale. she was the blonde lady locked in the tower by her father. the prince went to save her by climbing the tower holding onto her hair".
to which - honestly... - this time not even elle magazine could save me.
we still had 15 minutes to go and i made the mistake to say - "any question? any problem so far?" -
he looked at me for the first time in two hours and with a bit of an evil (but very determined) smile he showed me the cover of his blue copybook.
"i cannot go on. i have closed my notepad already. the class MUST finish"...
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