Before I went to jog this morning I wrote down (not to forget) a couple of themes on a shred of paper to blog on somewhat later: the standardized external testing in Ukraine, Morgan Meistling (an American artist), Anna de Moscou (or, Putin the Historian). However, after my fifth lap round the nearby lake there cropped up a new theme which I immediately put on top of the list while the theme was still fresh in my mind.

2017-05-30fm-t-shirt-e1496155015232.jpgFrom what I could judge, they were a father and his daughter (the girl was about 9-10 years old). I was running and they were walking in my direction. The daughter had a T-shirt on with the print “Franklin and Marshall.” The three words spoke volumes for me. Our daughter had earned a BA degree at F&M College before she went to the George Washington University to study economics. For a few years my wife and I were getting the Franklin & Marshall magazine (along with our daughter’s phone bills, which, for some inexplicable reason, the administration decided to send to parents, rather than to students :-)), newsletters from the administration, etc. Shall I say, how thrilled I was when I saw the familiar words on the little girl’s T-shirt? To be candid, at some other time, I would pass those two without any word, but now, after five kilometers of jogging, I might have got more “hormones of joy” in my blood than usual, so I slowed down and, pointing to the girl’s T-shirt, addressed her father: “Franklin and Marshall College… My daughter was a student there…” The least of what I, probably, expected from the man was an understanding smile or a glint in his eye. No such luck! The man looked sullenly at me and paced on without a single word, his daughter following him.

I stood for a moment or two and resumed my jogging. Yes, I felt a little awkward and embarrassed. I tried to comfort myself thinking that I had grown in a less antagonistic society, or that the man had no idea about what F&M was and the T-shirt had been bought elsewhere at a market, or that an upside in this situation was that I might use the case to dwell on it in my blog.

And there was something to dwell on. Just one, seemingly unrelated event: I was buying some fruit in a supermarket. As usual, I filled a plastic bag with apples, tied the bag, put it on a scale, pushed all the required windows on the monitor, took a price tag that moved out of the slot and stuck it on to the bag. When, later, I was paying for the apples 2017-05-30scaleat the checkout I noticed that there was an innovation there: before scanning my bag, the operator weighed it also on HER scale that was just next to her (in the past there was no scale at the checkout). First I thought that the double-weighing was done to make sure that scales in the supermarket hall were right. When I came home with the apples my wife explained to me that some buyers could first weigh a smaller amount of fruit or vegetables, stick a price label corresponding to that amount, and afterwards add some more fruit/vegetables of the same sort into the same bag. To prevent the theft, the purchase was weighed at the checkout too.

It looks like I keep living in a different world. I work in my study-room filled to the very ceiling with good books written by intelligent people. When I read through the books, I cannot but think that the world cannot but become better due to the millennia-long effort of the great minds whose names are imprinted on the book spines. But when I go out into the street I see mostly suspicion and mistrust. What is sad about it is that people in the street have every reason to be suspicious and mistrustful.


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6 Responses to “THE TWO WORLDS”

  1. rocca Says:

    Wow.. don’t worry…it is there loss!

  2. rocca Says:

    Wow.. don’t worry…it is their loss!

  3. vitaliyb Says:

    THANKS! 🙂

  4. Olga Arapina Says:

    Mr. Babych, the world is a very interesting place!:) We just do not know all the reasons things happen. Maybe, if you had achieved an understanding with that guy about the T-shirt from Franklin and Marshall, I would have never learned that your daughter received her BA at the college, where Anton is going to be already a junior next year. What a coincidence! Or…maybe, there is no coincidence in this world:)

  5. vitaliyb Says:

    Wow, Olia! I would have said: “an unbelievable coincidence”, but I absolutely agree with you that there is nothing coincidental in what happens to us. Everything is for a purpose (or rather, THE PURPOSE). Thanks for your comment. As for me, it’s more impressive than dozens of blogs I have written. Yasya’s was “Class-2000”. I understand that Anton will be graduating in 2020. Fair winds and following seas to him!

  6. Olga Says:

    Thank you for good wishes! He is in Class – 2019, I meant the study year beginning in September.

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