He is 70. Too old to be driving door to door for music lessons, if you ask me. At 70, if I am still around, I would be busy doing things that please me. Maybe he was doing just that too. For someone who has taught music all his life, what else could be more exciting but that?
He loves to talk. It is a different story that I found it difficult to follow what he said in the beginning. His English is highly accented, despite the fact that he worked in England for twenty years. That would have changed the way he spoke the language, wouldn’t you think? Hard to imagine how differently he spoke before his 20 year stint.
He is lonely. Every time I cancelled my class, he would offer to accommodate me on another day of the week. I suspected that he was lonely, that his children were all older, married and having their own families. Maybe his wife was an old grouch and he wanted respite from her.
He is a learner. He asked me if I was computer savvy, if I knew how to use the internet, if I could teach him how to use his new iPad. His son gifted him an iPad 2 from one of his trips from Australia. After class, we sit down with his new iPad for half an hour, opening and closing apps and learning how to use them.
He wants to make new friends. I saw that he had three friends on Facebook from the time he owned the iPad. His son, daughter in law and wife. He showed keen interest on learning how to make new friends on Facebook. I suggested that he connect with friends of his friends first and then build his network. He looked hurt and refused to consider that option. He wanted new friends. Unknown to his family.
On the second session that I spent with him teaching him to use his iPad , he showed me an app he could use to call people for free. To demonstrate how it works, we called his wife. Her number was stored on the app along with that of his son’s. He was taken aback I chose her to call first. He spoke briefly in his native tongue and closed the call. I smiled. I had done a good deed for the day.
On the third session of learning how to use his iPad, he wanted to fill out an online form for a service provider. The text from the service provider said that if he updated his personal information he would stand a chance to win an iPad2. Who was I to ridicule his enthusiasm for a second iPad? I played along. I helped him fill out the form. When we came to the part that asked his marital status he said divorced.
That explained everything.
…. his enthusiasm for new friends on Facebook.
…. why he looked shaken after I connected the call to his wife using the app.
…. why he was lonely
…. why he loved to talk
…. why he drove door to door teaching music at 70.