Wally asked Anita how her daughter Heather was doing. Heather had always been a dutiful, loving daughter. She got married about 10 years ago, at the age of 23. It was the first marriage for her and her husband Ben. They had two kids. Everything seemed fine, even though Heather was the only one working. Ben had gotten laid off two years ago. He was still looking for work. They were fortunate because Heather’s grandma loved her to death. She had bought a house for Heather as a wedding gift, so Ben and Heather had no mortgage to pay. Not one penny. Grandma asked only that Heather call her twice a month. Recently, grandma had asked Anita what was wrong with Heather. Anita said she didn’t understand—nothing was wrong. “Then why hasn’t she called?” grandma asked. Anita said she would talk to Heather. She left several messages, but Heather didn’t call back. Anita drove over to the house. Ben was home, taking care of the kids. “Where’s Heather?” Anita asked. “She went to the beach,” Ben told her. “Without you and the kids?” Ben was reluctant to talk, but he did. Heather had started smoking again. Even worse, she had found a boyfriend. She had met this guy at work, and things got out of hand. Ben didn’t know what to do. If he filed for divorce, he might be out on the street with two kids to support. If he didn’t get a divorce, he had to live with the humiliation of being supported by a wife who was cheating on him. Anita was astounded at her daughter’s selfish actions. She drove home and called her mom. Grandma said that hopefully it was just a phase that Heather was going through. She told Anita to make sure to remind Heather to call.
Starting in February 2009, broadcasts of all TV signals will be digital, replacing current analog signals. For people who have cable or satellite TV, this is a non-issue, because their reception will not be affected. But people who use rabbit ears or outside antennas won’t be able to receive the new digital signals. They’ll have to buy a converter for each TV, which will cost about $50 each. For Chris, that was too much. Instead, Chris was simply going to give his two TVs away to a thrift shop. Then he would wait until the prices went way down on digital tuner TVs, and buy one when the price was right. He loaded the TVs into his car. The lady at the thrift shop wasn’t interested at first. She changed her mind when he said that they were only 13” TVs, and that they worked perfectly. He was relieved when she accepted them. Had she not, he would have had to deposit them at a hazardous waste facility, which meant waiting in line, in his car, for hours on end. Chris got home feeling good. Now he was going to enjoy at least a year of no TV. The “idiot box” was a good name for that waste of electricity. He felt like a new man for having got rid of his two TVs. When na called that night, he proudly told her the news. na, whose native language was Chinese, was not happy. “What do you mean, you have no TV?” she yelled over the phone. “How are you going to teach me anything when I call to ask you about new vocabulary on the 11 o’clock news?” She had a few more things to say. Chris sighed. When she finished, he promised her he would buy a new digital TV the very next day.
The annual teachers’ meeting was the only time that all the teachers got together in one place at one time. It was a 3-hour meeting, from 7 to 10 p.m. Lecturers talked on various subjects. Each talk was followed by a question and answer period. It was an informal, pleasant evening. The evening always began with a delicious dinner catered by a local restaurant. This year’s host was a Middle Eastern restaurant. Teachers piled as much as they wanted on their paper plates and found a seat outdoors or in the auditorium. Most teachers really seemed to appreciate the food. For Shane, this evening was his opportunity to check out the female teachers. This year, a beauty walked into the auditorium about 10 minutes late. She sat in the row in front of Shane, just two seats away. Shane couldn’t believe it. She was not only the best-looking woman in the auditorium, but she smiled at him before she sat down. She was tall and had long red hair. She was wearing a sexy black cocktail dress. Shane could not focus on the meeting anymore. He looked at the lecturers less than he looked at the redhead. He was enveloped in her perfume. She took notes right-handed. She ran her fingers through her hair. She crossed and uncrossed her legs. Shane was going crazy. Plus, there was no ring on her left hand. The meeting ended. The dean thanked everyone for attending. Everybody applauded the presenters. The redhead stood up. Shane stood up. She smiled at him, and then walked out. Shane walked out. She went to the restroom. Shane waited. When she came out, he walked up to her. “Hi,” he smiled. “My name’s Shane. I was wondering if you have time for a cup of coffee. I was hoping we could share some of our teaching experiences.” She smiled. “Why, thank you. That’s sweet of you. I appreciate your offer, but I’ve got to get home. My husband is babysitting tonight, and I’m sure he’s pretty tired. Maybe another time?” She smiled, and walked away.