So this Latino guy diagonally across from me is talking. He's wearing dark blue jeans with a narrow cut, so saturated with color they almost seem black, and a similarly vivid striped button-down shirt in blues and purples. He's very dark skinned, middle-aged, starting a bit of a paunch, with a long face and the prominent arched nose I associate with Mayan paintings. The guy across from him, over my shoulder and mostly out of sight, keeps saying that he must be so proud.
When Not Visible Guy asks, "so what was her dissertation about?" I perk up my ears.
"It's Edu-edu-edu -CA-shun, something, they've got these learning communities, and they track them across schools, but she's pulling them out and tracking things by kids and not by school, hell, I don't know. I keep asking her why she doesn't have something lined up next yet."
Now they are off on a conversation about money. It seems like there are two ways to give money, one is all about the show, it's a way of demonstrating your pride and showing both of you off to everyone; that kind you don't expect the other person to take the help, in fact you make a big show of offering money and they make a big show of not taking it and demonstrating their independence and that's totally cool. But then there is the other kind, where you want to give money because you are genuinely worried and want to help out, and how do you actually get the money to the daughter in scenario two when she's already made a show of refusing it like in scenario one? They're brainstorming methods; it kinda reminds me of when my dad and my brother fight over who gets to pay the check. :-)
* * *
She may be the first person in the family to get a degree but she's not the only one; he got a BS last spring (Not Visible Guy is ribbing him that now he has to go back to school and get more degrees than his girl. The guy groans. "Education is important," says the dad with a wry smile, "but not that important.") I'm assuming he did some sort of engineering thing? He seems to be in construction. These guys are making me cry the happy tears.
* * *
Ok I had thought the other guy was white but he's telling a story about somebody --- a relative? a friend? I missed that --- who is Hopi and Navajo on his mother's side and Cherokee and something else on his father's side. "They were big in The Movement," he says. "The Long Walk, total activist stuff. Totally messed him up because he was pushing all that and overloaded and nearly flunked out."
This is fascinating; I'm having a hard time concentrating on my own work stuff. Ok I missed part of that story ---- did the other guy manage to go back to school and graduate? ---- but the moral is all about the Importance of an Education. I totally love these guys. They are warming the cockles of my heart. Heh.