Holiday Lesson #85

Dec 26, 2020 | 2 comments

Not that I’ve counted… but I think it’s a safe bet to say that for every one of the Christmases I’ve celebrated, I’ve learned an important lesson.  I don’t remember them all, of course, but I do remember the first one.  I was three or maybe four.  We were living on College Avenue in Portland and my mother had just come home from a shopping spree.  One of the packages contained a long red stocking with my name on the furry white cuff.

“This is for you, Sydney,” she said.  I was totally mystified and asked, “But where is the other one?”  I’m not sure what the reply was… probably something like, “Why, Sydney!  It’s your Christmas stocking!”  But the tone was clear.  I had asked a dumb question.  Lesson: Do not ask dumb questions.  (And, yes — much later, during  my 39 years of teaching, I learned that despite all the blah-blah-blah,  there ARE dumb questions).  I remember the lesson clearly — but I don’t think I ever have taken it to heart.

This Christmas the lesson was far easier.  Do NOT participate in ZOOM.  Not if you live in a rural area where the internet connection is “unstable” as they say.  I saw my face frozen in one too many grotesque configurations which was bad enough.  But when one was captured in a screenshot and posted on FB for the world to see… lesson learned!  No more ZOOM for me.  I’m happy to converse on the phone — conference calls are great.  And free.

I can wait until we can again be up close and personal to see my loved ones.  Then they can see my distortions in real time and I don’t have to come face-to-face with my worst side on social media for the rest of my days.  Or at least until hours tick by and the offending image is removed.  And until us rural residents become “equal pigs” in the Orwellian sense.  (NOTE:  I am blaming our sucky rural internet service and not my face or the photographer…)

Lesson #85 — Learned.


  1. Kristina Jones

    Merry Everything But ZOOM! I am heartbroken. Zoom is my favorite these days, but I understand, living as I do, in a Large Urban Environment, that Your Situation is DIFFERENT! RATS! GODDAM IT TO HELL! Why? Cause we start our big Play Reading project tomorrow at 1pm with 14 readers, that’s why! And I so want you to join us! *sigh* another sad experience of not only the Virus, but the Distancing…

    Love anyway, KK

    • sydney

      You couldn’t be any sorrier than we are. And just so you know I’m not completely nuts, I want to tell you that even our wonderful Chinook Observer had a front page story about how f****** we are internet-wise. I don’t think it will change much in our lifetimes. It’s right up there with CABLE TV which has never come north of Joe John’s Rd. I paid those guys several hundred bucks to install the cable from Sandridge Road to mt house on the bay when I was building it. CABLE hookups were coming “anytime now.” That was in 1978. So far, nothing has changed. Bottom line — we don’t have enough population. Duhhh! So it’s not economically feasible. Duuuhhh! So now that the rural areas are supposed to get some federal help along those lines, any number of committees, agencies, communications experts have jumped into the mix and the bureaucracy is bringing all hope to a standstill. Why am I not surprised?


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