Monday, 6 September 2010


for the last couple of months
i have spent the long hours of my paid employment
cloistered in a classroom
with five fresh-faced chinese high school-leavers
they go under such cutesy monikers as flora, sky and...monica!
i wonder what these inscrutable teenagers must make of their experience
accustomed as they are to the invisibility of a class of sixty other
suddenly thrust iinto the full glare
of this prancing, grimacing, gesticulating foreigner
with his messy blond hair and big blue eyes
his pale skin and pointy nose
his penchant for flowery shirts and corduroy jackets
for tossing out awkward questions
and playing the devil's advocate with the answers
most of the time the default setting is bewilderment
they simply cannot detect my irony
although they are nice kids
and our senses of humour somehow manage to intersect often enough
for a little rapport to develop
for example in the cafe at winterbourne house
when i brandish a mini-tub of margarine with the flora logo
(i'd been longing to do that since the start of the course)
and everyone including flora gets the joke...

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