Lineups and Algebra

Waiting in a lineup is the new normal when going anywhere lately. Which also means with the time spent in lineups that I seem to be chatting with people at a safe 2 meters apart.

I was in the Costco lineup last week, my first venture to Costco since the social distancing and Stay Home requirements started. I went in the evening, 45 minutes before closing with the hope that the line would have died down. I got in line and then they blocked the area behind me so no one else could line up. The two women in front of me commented that it’s that feeling you get when you are the last one on the ferry. Haha. Naturally, we started chatting, turns out they are sisters. They miss working with people and said when they do have the need to go to the office they feel as though it’s their chance to get their 2500 words out for the day, talking with anyone who is there. That about sums up lineups. You begin to recognize the ones that are isolated at home and miss the socialization. It’s true. They asked how my family is doing, how my kids are doing. We didn’t know each other before but we may as well be friends now. I do miss my two sisters, so I have to say, I felt quite at home visiting with these two sisters.

In the lineup for the checkout the woman behind me needed a chat. She told me about her garden space and planting plans for this spring. She works alone at home now with the pandemic. We talked about her spring allergies, which makes for awkward moments being out in public and getting suspicious looks from strangers, and we talked about essential oils. My shopping experience was totally pleasant.

What has been unpleasant is having to learn algebra alongside my son in grade 8 so I can help him with it. I felt so defeated on the weekend. Math was not at all my thing in school. I looked at each question as a ‘standalone’ problem and didn’t carry rules over to each new question. So when I begin to understand how one question is solved, I then feel completely lost on the next one. We watched a few Khan academy videos, we tried a problem, couldn’t apply what we had just seen on Khan academy to that problem, so tried another video and another problem. Yes, I wanted to pull my hair out a few times. Then we reached out through the chat function to his teacher. We set up a call, where he was able to share his screen and break down the problem. He kindly explained that we shouldn’t be struggling with each question. He said with what they are learning now, it is the worse time to try and learn math at home and he fully expects the students to call him for help with each question. Ok phew. So I don’t have to become the math teacher.

My mom reminded me she also learned math along with my younger sister during grade 9 to help her. She then went on to volunteer with project literacy for 2 years and taught math! I had remembered she volunteered with project literacy but not that she was teaching math. Her long time student was a younger man who had immigrated from Jamaica. I commend you mom, although I don’t think I will be following your footsteps on this one!

And such are two examples of the ups and downs of our current global situation. There are lots of ups I think, and I hope most feel the same way – and there are definitely challenges every day too. Sometimes the ups and downs change with the hour.

Hope you are all staying safe and well! Thanks for reading.

Sending Love,


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