Cultural Crack

Not a big gap, but I caught my toe in it just after lunch.  I’ve been trying to recruit some helpers with “Help Wanted” ads in the middle of my PowerPoint lessons.  Not one inquiry.  Really thought that some kids would like the idea of doing something useful with me outside of the classroom setting.  In the midst of some class last week I apparently had been more direct with one young lady.  I vaguely recall that she was being more responsive than the rest, and it was likely freshly itching in my mind that I have been working overtime on time-consumers like parsing out the lyrics and sound-streams of mp3 songs for my lessons.

So today, just after lunch, here is YooJin Lee, 이유진, at my desk asking, “What do you want me to do?”  In response to my blank stare, “You asked me to help you.”

“Oh, uh, right, uh, umm,” I bought some time to make the assumptions above, and quickly rejoice that I had hooked one willing fish, and then asked, “Would you like to work on arranging lyrics and music for songs, mp3’s?”

I had caught my toe in the cultural crack, and didn’t recognize it yet.  It was her turn to look blank.  I expanded, “I have these lyrics, and I have these mp3 files, but I cut them up and arrange them like this,” showing her one way, “or like this,” showing her another way.

Blank stare becomes animated with rapid eye movements; she’s processing rapidly to no avail apparently, so I rephrase, “I bring the words and the music together for class.”

Blank stare sinks darker as she says, “I know.  I’ve seen them.”

Sudden impertinence?  Where’s the disconnect here?  I ask again, “Would you like to do that?”

Her eyes roll about two or three times, “You asked me to help you.”

Ah, yes.  In my position I had made a direct offer that in her position was received as a direct order.  And was presently quite incorrectly rejoicing, and worse yet was asking a buffoonish question about her willingness to fulfill the command.

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