jain envy

From the control room I heard the singer was flat and asked him to try singer sharper. He told me I was wrong, he was offended. I asked the engineer do you also hear it? He agreed. I told the singer both of us heard some iffy pitch, could he be a little more sharp? He fixed it but was no longer friendly. Clearly I was an asshole, end of story. A student in my class didn’t speak English well. Her written submissions were very difficult to understand. She was from Hong Kong and sat next to another woman. I assumed they were both from Hong Kong since they sat next to each other and spoke at the same level. They both had Chinese names but offered simpler anglo choices if I wanted. No way. I want to pronounce whatever name anyone tells me because we’re musicians, right? This is just another chance to use our ear.
The one who said she was from Hong Kong felt self conscious and I put her at ease sharing info about the free ESL classes on campus. The other one didn’t make any apologies. That’s cool but I thought I should let her know about the free help too. Her grammar in the submissions was even worse than her friend. She looked confused when I wanted to explain this aspect of the services offered by the university. She said something that surprised me, “I’m from Boston”. That made no sense, I felt confused even embarrassed. I guess I insulted her but at the same time her English problems weren’t much different than her friend. Eventually another teacher told me, sometimes when people grow up in a house where their parents have not learned the new language, the result is everyone speaks like the parents. My sister-on-law speaks English with a French accent and when her daughters were 4,5,6 they also spoke English with French accents. The sound was very enjoyable, I assumed ordinary socialization and growing up here would change them. Their ears that is. And it did. I don’t know about the Bostonian but I didn’t want to risk further putting my foot in my mouth. I was extra careful the rest of that semester but, like the out of tune singer, she saw me as rude villain. I liked when I first read about those people in India called Jains(?) Who try to not kill anything, like even insects. But no matter what it is, you can’t exist in the world without being associated with some type of pain or destruction, intentional or not.

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