Symmetry and other stuff about 2020


I first recognized the symmetry of the year 2020 when I was cross-stitching its numerals on the sampler for this year’s Habitat for Humanity house. The numbers are so round and pleasing to the eye, and they practically roll off the tongue: twenty twenty. I am even thinking the period of writing last year’s date on this year’s checks may not stretch until early summer this year. I have not yet erred because it feels so fluid to double the century with the year.

That 2020 also brings us into a new decade did give me a moment’s pause, but the fact that we suddenly find ourselves in the second decade of this century shook me up. Has it really been twenty years since the relatively-recent 2000? One of my former students only added to my time-flies-by-as-it-marches-on syndrome with this Facebook post: 2050 is as far away as 1990! Somehow the sleight of hand involved in the passage of time seems to defy all mathematical rules of logic – at least to this Boomer.

By the way, just a reminder: 2020 is a leap year. Ladies are free to pop the matrimonial question, although forward-thinking women have been doing so for quite some time now. And leap year means the Summer Olympics, this time in Tokyo with lots of swimming and running and gymnastics.

I just read online that a baby born on Leap Day, February 29, is referred to as a “leapling.” Just think, if I had been born five days later in 1948, I would be celebrating my 18th birthday this year!

A further comment about 2020: experts warn against abbreviating the year. In the last century, there was no danger in writing 10/31/58 – the completely numerical version of October 31, 1958. However, in this century 10/31/20 opens unsuspecting date writers to possible fraud if scammers add two numbers as in 10/31/2019 or 10/31/2021. Another thing we need to worry about…

Several months ago I determined to downsize and upgrade my technical equipment. As the end of support for Windows 7 and the demise of Internet Explorer loomed, I accepted the new realities of Windows 10 and Google Chrome into my life. Also in the past year, I became comfortable with the surprising convenience afforded by my Kindle tablet and ultimately decided to rid myself of the desktop computer sprawled across my desk. I am now the proud owner of a laptop, complete with wireless printer and wireless mouse.

Included in the shipping carton holding my purchase that arrived in mid-December was not the owner’s manual I expected but a four-page leaflet of line drawings: one offered a labeled diagram of the parts of my new laptop – mainly the varied openings on either side. Two other diagrams showed a hand plugging in the cord and that same hand pressing the ON button.

However, I am well-acquainted with my shortcomings. Thus, I was more than grateful when my own, personal geek squad showed up a few days after Christmas to get me connected in the world of wireless communication. One nephew dismantled my old setup, while my nephew-in-law patiently explained things and just kept pushing buttons. My niece supervised the entire operation, taking after her aging aunt in the area of strong leadership skills.

An hour later I had arrived relatively unscathed at my destination of Windows 10. My computer needs are simple: as long as I can easily send and receive e-mails, check Facebook and the headline news, google any little thing that flits across my mind, listen to the occasional tune on YouTube, and play Mahjong Tiles until I win a game without shuffling – I am a happy camper. Yes, this Boomer is over-the-moon delighted!

My other nephew arrived a couple of days later, history teacher wife and two daughters in tow, to set up my wireless printer. As he worked, my great-nieces and I resumed the fun and conversations we had struck up at Thanksgiving. Eight-year old Keegan told me all about the new Singer sewing machine she had received from her grandmother – my sister – and the quilt she would be making. Her sister Olivia arrived fresh from the party celebrating her fifth birthday, accessorized as she was with a unicorn headband.

The girls and I discussed future vocational choices. Keegan plans to be an art teacher and, in her spare time, a baby sitter. She reminds me of her Auntie Kelly, who early on desired the multiple occupations of secretary, mail person, librarian, and trash collector – all based on her observations of the world of work. Olivia announced that she wants to be a scientist, quite an advanced choice at the age of five. When I inquired what she wanted to do as a scientist, she matter-of-factly replied, “science,” her tone putting me in my place!

With a final nod to vocational choices and 2020 and symmetry, I was absolutely delighted to read that a former student is returning to the area as a general surgeon, with office hours in Springfield and Urbana. Dr. Daniel Persinger was an outstanding student at Graham and a pleasure to have in class. His parents, Tim and Karen Persinger, also did themselves proud as GHS grads. And Dan’s wife, Dr. Christine Persinger, will open her practice of Family Medicine this month in Springfield. A warm welcome – and welcome back – to the Drs. Persinger!

By Shirley Scott

Boomer Blog

Shirley Scott, a 1966 graduate of Graham High School, is a native of Champaign County. After receiving degrees in English and German from Otterbein College, she returned to GHS in 1970 where she taught until retiring in 2010. From 1976-2001 she coordinated the German Exchange Program with the Otto-Hahn-Gymnasium in Springe.

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