Friday, March 21, 2008

A Real Victorian

Here is something else I love about Canada: Easter weekend is 4 days long!

Back in Seattle, unless you were an observant Christian, Easter lasted for one day: Easter Sunday. Which meant that, effectively, for most people, aside from the jellybeans etc, it was no holiday at all. Here, you get Good Friday *and* Easter Monday as well as Sunday. The libraries are open on Saturday, but for most people (including me as I have no Saturday hours right now) it is one big four day par-tay.

(I hold that this celebratory stance in relation to a Christian holiday that has become a state holiday in no way conflicts with my annual Christmastide angst. So sue me. And I wished "happy Easter" right back to the probably Muslim or maybe Hindu guy at the grocery store who wished me a happy Easter yesterday, yes I did. I mean, hey, who isn't happy about a four day weekend?)

Anyway: we are in Victoria! Hooray! My mom and the Mermaid Girl have been here for a couple of days already, but the Renaissance Woman and I just pulled in this afternoon, whereupon we all promptly went out for tea, which is the proper thing to do in Victoria. And it was a proper tea, too. With scones and crumpets and a lovely great big bowl of cream in the middle of each of our plates. Mmm. Not to mention pictures of the Royal Family everywhere. Right across from me was a huge double frame of Princess Di and Prince Charles, circa 1981. It took me back.

The other thing this tea place had was a handwriting analysis guy, who for $5 would come to your table and get a sample of your handwriting and go off and analyze it and bring you a complete handwriting profile. My mom, who was underwriting the whole jaunt, volunteered to spring for all of our handwritings (except MG whose handwriting is too new to be analyzed), and they sent over the handwriting analyst, who was this dapper little guy about seventy-five years old.

He brought us back our folders, with their analyses, which we agreed didn't necessarily reflect our views of ourselves, and then asked if we had any questions. RW asked him if there were generational handwriting differences (on account of different teaching methods) and he misunderstood her question and explained quite genially that young people now are very different from young people thirty or forty years ago, that nowadays the youngsters think they can do anything they like, and that this has all come about because teachers are no longer allowed to hit misbehaving students with a strap, so how will they ever learn about consequences?

He wasn't ranting, mind you, just explaining that this is the way it is, these sad days, while we all gaped at him. Finally the Mermaid Girl politely raised her hand and volunteered that at her school, if you do something wrong once you get a card, and then if you do something again you get a warning, and then the third time you get a time out, and she has never even gotten ONE CARD. (I think there is also a green-yellow-red component in there that she was leaving out for simplicity's sake. She is somewhat obsessed with this system and told me once that she'd had a dream where she was just sitting in class, behaving herself, and she looked up and all of a sudden had a RED CARD. Not green, not yellow, but RED. And she didn't even know what she had done! She recounted this with the delicious horror that accompanies the telling of a truly grisly story.)

This encounter made me more skeptical about the analysis's reliability, for example its conclusion that I am one who "likes to spend money and has to constantly check this tendency," as actually I'm pretty thrifty. On the other hand, I'm quite willing to agree with the claim that I am "easy to get along with and not too demanding," and in fact intend to remind RW of this incontrovertable fact next time we have a disagreement. Because the Handwriting Analyst said so! And it must be true!


Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

Oh, the scones and crumpets sound so fabulous I am swooning just to think on it.

Here it's a three day weekend from school. Which led to the following observation from LG: "They call it Good Friday because you don't have to go to school. And that's good!"

7:26 AM  
Anonymous Arwen said...

Grade 12 enriched english consisted of me, in the library, ostensibly writing an extended essay about censorship (which I did do, eventually), but I was attracted to this small shelf with 8 handwriting analysis books on it. I think the librarian had an interest, and it struck me as very strange in our library to have EIGHT books about handwriting analysis. I felt like I'd stumbled on a secret.

So that's what I did, for about a month: read these books and try to do the analysis. It was a fun party trick: get samples from everyone, mix them up, and then vote on which description fit who.

There were some aspects I found often true, and some aspects which seemed to have no dependability. How you spend money is one of them; also the "whether you're a natty dresser" indicator - but both of these things would have different influences and causes, right?

Anyway; now I roughly use handwriting to tell me a particular snapshot of a person's mental state in the moment, if I have a baseline of who they are already. But we all already do that - if someone's writing gets really loopy and big and the pen strokes are heavy, they're probably upset, right?

11:25 AM  

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