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Stalking the Average Man

I looked up from the pages; Bonnie asked me what I thought about the entire section.
-I think yesterday‘s section, where the apprentices coddle the public, was about money.
They're saying, I will treat you well, and you will buy my stuff, but they‘re young and they
crossed the line between being pleasant and sucking up. | I flipped through the current pages. |
The kids respect the apprentices, but the apprentices were indifferent or abusive, so I'm guessing
they knew they had tried too hard to please customers, and they were making themselves feel
better. Somewhere down the road, I assume your teachers will straighten that out? |
Bonnie sighed as if her elderly cat had taken its final wheeze.
Picking up her cup, she walked out of the kitchen saying, -The youngsters think they're
battling a complicated problem, but their apprentice friends know there's only one worthy battle
to be fought—the struggle with self-image. |
I followed her into the hallway, through the living room, then sliding open a panel of floor
to ceiling glass we stepped onto her narrow concrete balcony.
-Apprentices, | she said, sitting in a cheap aluminum garden chair set around a matching
table, -didn't contribute to problems by handing out gifts for the asking. |
-Gifts? | I said, sitting facing her. -You‘ve explained the laziness angle, but they ignored or
made fun of them. | I offered Bonnie her pages so she could see that I was right.
Taking them from me, she said, -Eirik's waffling represented societies' disinclination to
commit to anything inconvenient. If you wait for those people to make a decision, you'll wait a
long time before they‘ll pass the buck. Rohwan had to have overheard the problem, as it was first
explained to Eirik, so he was teaching the kids not to presume upon others by making himself
unavailable. |
-In which case Brendah undermined them both. |
-She underlined them both: Eirik did the last thing anyone expected of a teacher, and
Rohwan catching on to the ploy inspired Brendah to seize the opportunity both of them had
created. |
-To sit in the middle of the street? |
-She would have stood on her head, if that's what it took. |
I scratched mine.
Taming a grin, Bonnie said, -During their lessons in Essential Acts, apprentices learn from
their misplaced sense of compassion to teach at every opportunity, because the moment might
never come again. I mentioned that when I was explaining the teaching scheme. |
-Did the townie kids collectively play the village idiot? | I guessed.
-In so far as they were mocking events they didn't understand, yes, but they also served the
purpose of trying to distract those who should know better than to waste an opportunity because
of embarrassment. | Bonnie sipped her tea, as I relived my embarrassment in the park with Otis.
-As young as they were, | she said, -they knew enough to assess the nature of these events
instead of reacting to them, and they recognized that Brendah had interrupted her life to help
them. |
-That‘s what the pacing was about? |
-It was more than drawing their attention to her leaving her work unbidden; retracing her
steps meant she was going to cover old territory, and meeting them halfway meant she wasn‘t
going to hand out a freebee. They were going to have to work for a solution. |
-Because of laziness? |
-Her way of teaching made the additional point that the opportunity to learn may come at
any time, in any place, and in unusual ways. If you are aware of that possibility, willingness