A Scary Animal

A big dog-like animal came to the door of the neighbors’ house and started sniffing around. The neighbors don’t have a dog, though. Nobody on our street has a dog this shape and size. There are people down the street with a large dog but theirs is white and furry, and this one is dark and has no fur.

Can this be something other than a dog? Something scary? I’ve heard creatures howling at night. What can it be?


A Hispanic student told me that some of her undocumented friends have signed over their children to her for when they get deported. They have to go “back” to places where they haven’t been for 20 years, and they will need time to get established for when they can fetch the kids.

The Values of Northern Podunk

Everybody is criticizing my post on interviews, but, folks, imagine this conversation:

“Why are you interested in leaving New York to teach 4 sections of Spanish 101 per semester at the State University of Northern Podunk in Barberville for the salary of $32,000 per year with no health insurance on a 1-year contract with no guarantee of anything?”

“Because I read the mission statement of Northern Podunk and I share the values of integrity, citizenship and caring that are central to the mission of┬áNorthern Podunk.”

Is that not a completely deranged conversation to have?

Well, we’ve been having these conversations for the past 3 weeks and we are going nuts here. Nobody loves mission statements that much. Or if they do, they need to undergo a psych evaluation. After 3 weeks of this, hearing somebody say “Because I’m desperate for a job and nobody else is hiring” is very refreshing.

Shocked at Walmart

I am shocked at how kind, professional and amazing the workers at Walmart are. I had two very complicated requests for two different sections of the store, and the workers went out of their way to be helpful. The reasons why the requests were complicated had nothing to do with the store or the products they sell. This was my personal complexity, and people had no reason to work so hard to help me. These were very tiny purchases (one for $7 and another for $25), but it took 2,5 hours to get it all done.

I have to say that, as much as I love Montreal, the idea that people at any store there would make such an effort for a customer is ludicrous.

Workers at Walmart deserve massive raises. “You are wonderful, wonderful people,” I told them almost with tears in my eyes as I was leaving.