Most depressing things I’ve seen or heard in the last two weeks:
1. The policeman who pulled me over for speeding last Tuesday asked me about my driving record and I told him, quite truthfully, that I’ve had four moving violations in nearly forty years of driving, the most recent a speeding ticket in another county last August. He said that not having had a ticket for eight whole months made me an excellent driver, and let me go with a warning. Apparently a significant percentage of local drivers get several tickets a year, which explains a lot about my insurance rates. I’ve had one ticket each in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s, so I suppose I should be worried that the ’10s will arrive fairly soon.
2. The next evening, one of the actors at the play I was seeing (Comedy of Errors here) asked if that was me he’d seen pulled over by a police car. Thanks for noticing, funny man.
3. A week or so before, a fellow theater-goer asked me about the Loeb Classical Text I was reading at intermission and whether I teach Latin (yes) or Greek (if there’s any demand). We talked about teaching and learning for a good five minutes before realizing that if we were in the same grad department at the same time, we really should know each other. We knew each other’s names, but less than twenty years had changed both our faces beyond recognition.
4. My students sometimes offer unsolicited dating advice, which I can generally squelch by saying that I don’t really think dating advice from teenagers is very helpful to someone my age. Before I could do so last week, one of my 11th-graders offered to set me up on a date . . . with her grandmother. To make it worse, she seems to have been serious, and well-intentioned.