Monday, January 25, 2016


I have done yet another very good deed! I’m thinking here of how extremely gracious I was when my corporate employer, in mid-January, saw fit for the second time in four years to unemploy me, or, you could say, promote me to unemployed person.

The first displacement came as a surprise. I knew it was coming sooner or later, because a merger between my company and another had caused the tool I worked on to be phased out, but on the day it happened, I thought I was just having my regular one-on-one meeting with my boss. I only realized what was happening when he said that an HR person was also on the line with us.

This time I knew a displacement could be possible, because of the joining together of two large areas within the company, but didn’t think it was probable, given the number of people in the two groups combined: nearly 5000.

In contrast with the last layoff, this one was very well telegraphed by my boss asking the day beforehand that I be in the office for our meeting. In addition, she had reserved a conference room for me to sit in for our meeting, so I was one hundred percent positive what was going to happen and had 24 hours to get my attitude properly adjusted.

When the meeting began, my boss said that her boss would be joining us. “Let me guess,” I said. “I’m getting a promotion and a huge raise?” “Let’s wait for Helga to join,” she said wanly. Helga said she’d get right to it: due to a new company-wide initiative (and no doubt also due to the 5000 people being mashed together), our area has been asked to trim expenses by five percent, and so she was having to lay off one person with my job title, namely me.

(Later I saw in the paperwork that the choice had been between me and the other person in my group who works in San Francisco. We have people in other cities, but office space costs the most here, so it was a sound business idea to lay one of us off. I don’t think Helga likes either one of us, but she must hate me slightly more. Or, my father suggested later, my salary might be higher than my colleague’s.)

I didn’t get a very good night’s sleep the night before, but I resolved to be amiable, and succeeded handsomely. I asked a question or two, and said, “You know, this is probably harder for you guys than for me—don’t feel bad.” Helga thanked me for that. I also said if they had feedback at any point on how I could do better in a future position, I would welcome hearing it.

Later there was a meeting for Helga and the 13 people under her to let everyone know my position had been eliminated. I said in that meeting that I’m thinking about the transition, as I’m sure my boss is, and that if there is anything I can show people how to do before my last day, I’d love to do that. My manager thanked me for my professional attitude.

I was given the rest of the day off and returned home, where I found Tom’s mailbox door ajar. In the lobby, I found several pieces of my mail, and then I read an email from the building manager saying she’d found almost all of the mailboxes hanging open.

And then I remembered something that had been in my mailbox: a full set of my keys. A key to the front door of the building, my mail key, and both keys to my apartment. I recently changed cat sitters and had gotten around to asking my former cat sitter for my keys back. She asked if she could mail them, and I said that would be fine, and in a few days, a padded envelope appeared in my mailbox. I was going out when I saw it, and, not wanting to carry it around town, planned to bring it in upon my return.

Before I got around to it, it was stolen. I’ve lived here for 17 years and this is the one and only time anyone has ever mailed me a set of my own keys, and also the only time our mail has been broken into. What are the odds? F. reminded me that a couple of weeks ago, he had seen the police visiting a building down the block where the same thing had happened. We had to have the locksmith come out immediately and change the front door lock, everyone’s mail lock, and my own two locks. Since this wouldn’t have been necessary if I’d plucked that envelope out of the box as soon as I saw it, I paid for my own two locks and made a $25 contribution besides. Besides that being the right thing to do, keeping the goodwill of my landlords is paramount.

I had a phone date with Margaux that day and told her in detail all about the mail and the mailboxes and the locksmith and what I’d learned from this experience. One thing I learned was that the next time someone asks me, “OK if I mail your keys?”, the answer is, “No! I’ll come and get them.” And then I remembered I’d also been laid off earlier that day. Quite a day, at the end of which, F. and I had Pakistani food at Pakwan.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Yellow Tape

I recently had my yearly diagnostic mammogram and everything was fine. This concludes year four after treatment for DCIS. My breast cancer surgeon is retiring, so I will see his replacement six months and a year from now, and then if nothing has gone wrong, that will be the end of the six-month checks. (A diagnostic mammogram is pretty much the same as a screening mammogram, except there might be additional views needed, and you get your results immediately.)

I have returned to my walking-around metta practice, inspired by something Phillip Moffitt said at the December retreat at Spirit Rock: that he used to aspire to be loving and friendly, but he now thinks benign is good enough. So when I’m perambulating about, I try to get a little glimpse of each person I encounter and think, “May you be happy,” and I don’t worry if I don’t feel any friendly feeling at all, particularly after I made the encouraging discovery that consciously sending that little wish at least neutralizes the automatic aversion I would otherwise feel. That is a huge benefit, given how many people I can see on a typical walk. Two units of aversion times 150 people is a lot of aversion.

With that little bit of default disliking eliminated, I don’t have to try to avoid having my gaze fall on other people, which I now realize has undoubtedly been my custom, as I tried to prevent the unpleasant experience of mild animosity. Freely looking at others has also had the entirely unexpected effect of making the world seem to open up around me. Along with seeing those who share the sidewalk, I am seeing all kinds of other stuff I might have missed. Vistas, even interior ones, seem more sweeping and expansive, and rather wondrous and beautiful. Also, when I make a point of seeing the people around me, I invariably see acquaintances of mine, who I must normally walk right by.


When my walking friend and I left Howie’s Tuesday night a week and a half ago, we walked along Mission St., and at 18th St., found the bus stop on the southwest corner sealed off by yellow police tape, along with the entire block of 18th St. from Mission to Valencia. One of the nearby police officers said all he could tell us was that it was a crime scene. I had arranged to meet F. a couple of blocks later, and when we joined him, I asked if he knew what had happened.

He said that after dinner at a Chinese restaurant, he was walking up Mission when a lot of police cars raced past him. When he got to 18th St., he saw a man of about 45 being loaded onto a stretcher for transport, and a younger man, who appeared to him to be a skinhead, sitting on the ground. He was under the impression that the younger man had attacked the older man with some sort of weapon. “Didn’t you see all the blood on the sidewalk?” he asked us.

On sfgate the next day, I learned that both of the people F. saw were the victims of a group of ten young men who approached them at the bus stop, picked a fight, and then stabbed one of them multiple times in the back, nearly killing him—he was in the hospital in critical condition—and also stabbed the other, who was in stable condition. As for the ten young men, not a single one of them was caught.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

On Cashews and Cached Equanimity

F. was patient with my busy social life over the holiday season and my going off on retreat soon after getting back from Michigan, so when it came time for a Saturday afternoon movie, I readily acceded to his choice: Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. I have never seen a Tarantino film because of their reputation for violence. This one was three hours long and it certainly was violent, particularly toward the end, but it never seemed to drag, and the gore was so disgustingly exaggerated, it was less disturbing than, say, one very realistic stabbing.

We originally were going to go to the new theater on Mission St., the Alamo Drafthouse New Mission, but our movie was sold out there—all 30 seats. That must be one tiny screen. We were much better off watching the blood splatter on a huge screen at the AMC theater on Van Ness.

I was speaking with a dharma friend who, per the natural rhythms of his practice, has been meditating less lately. Consequently, he said, he was noticing more reactivity, and what he said he would have to call the hindrance of doubt—not of himself, but of the dharma, which I thought was funny. He was wondering why, after 20 or so years of practice, there isn’t more residual or cached equanimity to carry one through such stretches.

This made me think about my lingering idea that regular meditation will raise my default level of kindness. I’m always a little surprised when I find myself being unkind: how can this be happening after 25 years of meditation? I think the answer is that meditation does not directly increase kindness or equanimity. It makes it easier to detect how it feels to be unkind or reactive, and it gives us practice in being awake, which may lead to more frequently making beneficial choices, and if we choose kindness over and over, it may become habitual, but I think it takes a huge number of choices before that happens, especially if one has a lot of practice in being angry or petulant or anxious.

Thinking about having to choose repeatedly then made me think about food and eating. I’m continuing to eat mindfully and am increasingly aware of how uncomfortable it feels when my body gets more food than it needs and how good it feels to eat in response to physical hunger. I want to have that experience as often as possible, which means sometimes choosing not to have an enormous meal that will delay the next experience of hunger for many hours or even into the next day.

I also am pondering what need a particular mouthful of food is satisfying. If I am actually hungry, the answer is clear. Or perhaps it is satisfying what I think is a legitimate or at least understandably human desire for a little pleasure now and then, but that is only true of the first few bites of food. One mouthful of garlic-parmesan potato chips is fantastic, ditto the second and third. But after that, the pleasure only wanes and continuing to eat just reinforces the habit of eating when there isn’t any physical reason for it.

In trying to re-create the pleasure of the first few bites of food, one frequently employed technique is to try some other kind of food: Hmm, roasted, salted cashews not doing the trick. Maybe some macadamia nuts. Maybe macadamia nuts with raisins. Maybe an English muffin with ghee. Maybe an English muffin with ghee and cashew butter. Um … maybe a third English muffin?

Not reading while eating is bringing a lot more clarity. I can say to myself, “I have had three handfuls of roasted, salted cashews and they were absolutely splendid. But what need will this next handful of cashews satisfy? None. There is no currently existing need that can be satisfied by continuing to eat cashews. I am free to do so. I am free to eat cashews until I physically can’t contain any more of them, and then I will feel terrible. So perhaps I will stop now.” And so, lately, sometimes I stop and sometimes it feels great, but sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it feels empty and blank, like, now what?

But when not much time has passed and I’m hungry once more, then I’m glad I stopped when I did. Also, being more aligned with reality rather than basing my behavior on fantasy (e.g., more cashews equals more joy) is a satisfying feeling.

In the past, I just wanted to be on a certain diet and not have to choose. When I felt stuffed and ill from egregious overeating, I would think, “I’ll sure never do that again.” I believed that having a sufficiently horrible experience would mean I would do anything to avoid that experience in the future. But how many times did that prove not to work? Quite a large number of times. Eating is just like speaking and acting: constructive choices have to be made over and over again, and the only time this can be done is right now.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Request Recipient (Likely) Undelighted Yet Again

I forgot to mention one other travel-related item from my Thanksgiving trip to Michigan. Sitting on the plane heading back to San Francisco, from my aisle seat, I could hear tinny speaker sounds evidently coming from the headphones of the man in the window seat. I considered just putting up with the minor annoyance, but fell prey to the same line of thought that has caused so much unnecessary conflict, both minor and major, over the decades: maybe if I speak up, the person who is doing the thing I don’t like will be delighted to stop doing it. You’d think I’d know by now how rarely this is the case.

I had exchanged pleasantries with the man’s wife, in the middle seat, and now turned to her and asked, in my finest faux-innocent manner, “Do you hear a tinny sort of speaker noise?” She immediately turned to her husband and loudly told him to turn it down. Then it dawned on me that it was turned up so high because he was hard of hearing, and then I felt terrible for probably making him feel self-conscious.


On Christmas Eve, Tom and F. and I drove to Sacramento in the car Tom’s co-worker lends him every year over the holidays in exchange for a ride to the airport and for his moving the car from place to place so it doesn’t get a parking ticket. We had a really nice evening at Ann’s, along with Steve and Julie. Ann and Julie made us a perfect dinner of lasagna, salad and soft rolls. We didn’t exchange any gifts beyond Steve giving us his beautiful family calendar, as he has done for many years now.


A couple of fruit flies made their way into my apartment from the compost bin a floor below my kitchen window and were quite pesky until I put three drops of lemongrass oil into a small metal cup and set it on the counter. The fruit flies not only stopped trying to sit on the edge of my cereal bowl but left the entire apartment and have not been seen since.


I’m still slowly working my way through Rob Burbea’s book Seeing That Frees. It can be thought of as a collection of ways to meditate, though I mainly try out his ideas during the rest of the day. Some require some reflection or analysis, such as thinking about what factors caused something to occur. He recommends considering past inner and outer conditions, and present inner and outer conditions. At first, this sounded like way too much work—you certainly wouldn’t want to do this for everything that happens—but doing it even a couple of times was illuminating.

For instance, someone spills something on the kitchen floor. Past inner conditions: He was a dreamy child who was often lost in an imaginary world and did not attend to details. Past outer conditions: His parents often yelled at him and even spanked him for small domestic mishaps, and so he now feels tense when moving around a kitchen, making him even more likely to drop something. Present inner conditions: He knows he is late for work and accordingly is hurrying. Present outer conditions: The fact that it is past the time he should have left for work. Seeing all this makes it harder to feel annoyed.

Trying out another suggestion, we can reflect on what identities we have assigned to ourselves and consider if they are really factual. We may say, “I’m such-and-such type of person”: I’m generous, I’m angry, I’m altruistic, I’m fearful. However, if there are times when we don’t act that way, or even act the opposite way, we can’t really assert such a thing as true.

When we are having an unpleasant experience, Burbea suggests making the quality of unpleasantness itself our temporary object of attention. A physical pain can seem to be steadily unpleasant, but moment to moment examination can reveal that some moments are less unpleasant than others, or even not unpleasant at all.

The quality of pleasantness, unpleasantness or neither is known by the Pali word vedana and is a particularly fruitful thing to be mindful of, because it sits between having a pleasant or unpleasant experience and the grasping or aversion that cause the bulk of our suffering. Meanwhile, when things are neither pleasant nor unpleasant, we can tend to space out or drift into a fantasy. Being conscious of vedana and accommodating the experience of it can handily interrupt these oft-repeated progressions.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


During my retreat at Spirit Rock in December, possibly the longest train of thought I got lost in had to do with my new computer and its various exasperations.

What is driving me the most crazy are the scroll bars, which are extremely skinny, making them a bit tricky to select, and which, maddeningly, do not have up or down arrows. I notice it most of all in the photos application, where I have many, many pictures. Instead of using one finger to hold the up or down arrow on my mouse to smoothly scroll through them, I have to use my entire hand to drag the mouse along, which uses unnecessary muscles and is much less precise, making it very easy to overshoot.

I called to inquire about this and Apple’s support person started by saying, “Now, when you say ‘scroll bars,’ what exactly are you referring to?” It seems as if Apple has just hired 500 people who are totally unacquainted with computers and made everyone who used to be a regular old support person into a “senior engineer.” You have to have a long conversation with one of the former before you can talk to one of the latter, one of whom advised me that he was able to answer only one question! This was many, many hours into the most frustrating computer setup I’ve ever experienced, and this was going from an iMac to an iMac.

Another senior engineer peeked at my Firefox tabs while he was connected to my computer and asked, “Have you ever had a lucid dream?” We had a great chat about his lucid dreams and mine, but the next day we did not have a chat about anything, because right after we spoke, he quit his job with no notice, mystifying his co-workers, and someone else took over my case. (It wasn’t anything I did! I don’t think.)

So when I got home from my retreat, I could not have been more delighted to see an email from Apple asking for feedback on my recent purchase. I was going to publish that feedback here verbatim, but decided it would make me sound more peevish than I like to have people know I am.

Ah, well, these are of course first-world problems and the computer is finally set up. There were two things I was particularly concerned about: moving my email from Entourage to Apple’s Mail program, and if my Logitech Squeezebox Boom would still work. Someone at Apple assured me there would be no problem with my email. In fact, it turns out that this operation can’t be done, period.

As for the Boom, which uses a wireless connection to play mp3s stored on my computer, and also streams online radio stations, someone at Logitech said I could just download the Logitech Media Server onto my new computer and fire it up. The downloading went fine, but the server wouldn’t start.

Logitech’s technical support, like Apple’s, has declined precipitously. By the time I’d discussed the issue for weeks with people who had no idea what I was talking about, I’d resigned myself to buying two devices to replace the Boom: an Internet radio and a wireless thing to play my mp3s. Then I realized I’d only have to buy one thing, since the Boom was still working fine as a streamer of online stations. And then I figured out I could plug an iPod that I have in a drawer somewhere into the back of the Boom and use the Boom as speakers for the iPod, so I wouldn’t have to buy anything at all, though it would be a minor hassle to periodically load new mp3s onto the iPod.

Nonetheless, I was ecstatic when, using the iMac’s command line interface and recalling Unix commands from long ago, I finally got the Logitech Media Server to start. As for my email, I imported it all into Mozilla Thunderbird in case I needed to look up an email address or reread any of my own particularly witty bon mots.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Awareness Itself

Sayadaw U Tejaniya came to Spirit Rock to lead a retreat last year, but I was number 102 on the waiting list and so did not attend. I didn’t want the whole year to go by without undertaking a period of intensive practice, so in December, I went on a retreat whose topic was the awareness of awareness itself. The lead teacher was Phillip Moffitt, one of my favorites.

F. spends time every week with friends who have a three-year-old daughter, which probably explains why I’ve been sick so many times over the past year, including having laryngitis for the first time ever and having mono. F. usually spends several nights a week at my place, and during his visit right before my retreat, he had a cold, and by the time I left for Spirit Rock, so did I.

I thought maybe it would clear up in a couple of days, but soon a relentless cough had set in. I never had a sore throat, and there was no chest congestion—just gallon after gallon of post-nasal drip and the resultant cough. Now, the people at Spirit Rock are extremely nice, but they are also protective of the beautiful wooden floor in the meditation hall, so no liquids are allowed in there. Sipping water would have quelled 95 percent of this cough, but that was not available, so I sat in the meditation hall coughing and coughing and coughing.

Not only was I disturbing the peace of 85 people, it was—besides me—an unusually quiet retreat. No one arrived late to the sittings. No one left early. You could hear a pin drop from the first moment of the first period of sitting—and you could also hear me, coughing and coughing and coughing (and then blowing my nose, and if you are a person of extraordinary discernment, perhaps you could even hear a wadded-up used tissue landing gently on the floor between my feet). Soon I had a ring of empty seats around me, except for one very tranquil-seeming older lady, and a young fellow who had resorted to the use of earplugs.

After a couple of days, I quit going to the meditation hall except for periods where instructions would be presented, and just lay in bed. I considered getting mad at F. or feeling sorry for myself, but decided not to bother: causes and conditions unfolded as they did. Briefly, I pretended that I was in hospice actually dying: how might I practice at that time? Then I felt very happy that I was not yet dying in hospice, and set about having as many mindful moments as possible.

As it happens, Howie frequently recommends resting in open awareness, so I found it easy to tune into a broader sense of perception less concerned with individual objects (i.e., sense experiences, including thoughts and emotions) and more attuned to the vast space of knowing in which it all comes and goes. It was a lovely, extremely peaceful feeling, which lingered for some days after I was home again. So I consider the retreat to have been entirely worthwhile even though I hardly did more formal meditation practice than I normally do.

I had a roommate who went to find somewhere else to sleep after enduring a couple nights of my company. She offered me a ride home at the end, so I guess no hard feelings, and one of her other passengers was the young fellow with the earplugs. I apologized to him for all the racket, and he said, “It’s not like you could help it. And it wasn’t just you: it was also all the other people coughing and sneezing and making various kinds of noise.” That was rather surprising. He must be astonishingly sensitive (because I certainly can’t be going deaf).

Howie happened to be at Spirit Rock leading a daylong retreat during the time I was there and told me afterward that he knew I was there because the retreat teachers mentioned it over lunch. I asked, “Did they say, ‘Your student wrecked period after period of meditation with her horrible cough?’” and Howie said yes, they did actually mention my cough.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Airborne Menopausal

On the plane going to Detroit in late November for Thanksgiving, there was a twenty-something passenger in the row in front of me who was very upset because he felt hot. “It’s hot! I’m too hot! This is terrible!” There was a to-do about accessing his carry-on so he could put his sweater in it.

Later he was very upset again: “It’s cold! I’m too cold! Before I was hot, and now I’m cold! You’d better believe I’m going to be calling customer service about this. This is the worst airline ever!” Another to-do about getting his sweater back.

One flight attendant was casual and friendly with him; a second bustled up and spoke to him rather harshly. A person in my own row leaned over to whisper to the nicer flight attendant about what condition she thought the unhappy passenger had and how much compassion she was feeling for him. I tapped the same flight attendant and said, “You know what his problem is? Menopause. I feel the exact same way.” She thought that was funny, or pretended to.

The airport shuttle service I used for many years in Michigan went out of business in the past couple of years, so I have switched to another of the rather few choices, and this time waited for about 30 minutes in the freezing cold parking garage before my driver came along. Just as he was putting my suitcase in the back of the van, another passenger stormed up enraged,  threw his bag through the open side door onto one of the seats, and screamed “F*ck!” He apparently had failed to connect with another driver earlier and was now afraid he’d be late for a scheduled conference call. He berated our driver, who kept saying he didn’t know anything about it.

As we rolled toward Ypsilanti, I learned that the driver was in an aggrieved mood having nothing to do with the enraged passenger, though I’m sure that didn’t help. He said he had not been paid for two weeks, that the newish owner of the business had assured him that his salary would be paid on such-and-such day, and accordingly he had scheduled a doctor’s appointment for his pregnant wife only to be stiffed again; he had to cancel the appointment. He said things were perfect under the former owner, but terrible now. The ride cost $32 (for about 12 minutes of travel time); I tipped him $20.

Returning to the airport ten days later, I asked a different driver how he likes working for this company and found out that he loves it. The owner is a totally great guy who doesn’t make anyone work on any holiday unless he or she wants to. If no one wants to work, they simply don’t take reservations for that day. This driver said that on Thanksgiving, he and the boss were the only two people working, and at the end of the day, the boss turned over all his tips to his employee. They are even golf buddies. Odd. The first guy had brown skin and the second guy had white skin. I don’t know if that explains anything.

My Thanksgiving visit was very nice. As usual, there were just four of us present for the festive meal—my parents, my sister and myself. We had delicious roast chicken, stuffing, guacamole (as there was an avocado on hand that had failed the palpation test), Waldorf salad, rolls, and cheese biscotti. My mother made the final two items; my father made everything else. I had lunch with Ginny at Café Zola (salmon burger!) and with Amy at Seva. The last time I was at Seva, they had just opened and the chemical smell was so awful, I (with Ginny) had to leave. On this visit, Amy said firmly that there is no longer any chemical smell—she was right about that—and that she would meet me there. As always, my whole visit was very agreeable, plus it snowed!

Monday, January 04, 2016

My Extremely Good Deed

Since this blog is generally in arrears, it should not be a surprise that the computer I lately said I could not afford (while saving as much money as possible) is now in hand (now that I am no longer saving as much money as possible). It spent several weeks in a box in the closet because I’ve been busy helping a friend find housing using a Veterans Administration voucher, which has been an education. It’s a long process, demanding a lot of patience.

When I finally unboxed the new computer, I marveled at the simplicity and beauty of the device (an iMac) and its packaging. I turned it on, and saw graphics indicating that I should turn the wireless keyboard and mouse on, and did both, but saw that the icon representing the mouse cursor was stuck in a corner of the display, and also that the power light for the keyboard came on, but then turned off in a few seconds. Meanwhile, the two graphics kept flashing repeatedly.

I called Apple and was on hold for 20 minutes or so and then spoke with a very pleasant and obviously extremely inexperienced tech support person, a woman with a faint Southern accent. We went around and around as she advised me that I needed to charge up my keyboard and mouse before using them or to make sure to plug my keyboard into the computer—obviously not the case, since these items don’t have any means of connecting a wire. I had to tell her several times that we were talking about wireless items.

Early on, just to confirm, I asked as mildly as possible, “Are you tech support?” and she said proudly, “Yes, ma’am, I am.” Not much later, I was so fed up—remember, I am the person who goes berserk with rage nearly every time I have to talk to AT&T—that I was on the verge of saying, “Could you please transfer me to someone who can actually assist?”, or, a bit more politely but not very much so, “Perhaps I’ll call back and speak with someone else,” or, better yet, “Perhaps I’ll tackle this another time. Thank you for your help.”

But then I realized that she was basically me 16 or 17 years ago, and I said, “Take your time. I have faith in you. We’ll figure this out,” and that seemed to make her feel more relaxed.

Eventually I concluded it must simply be a case of dead batteries in the mouse and went online on my old computer to check how to change them. The hardest part, as always, was getting the battery cover open. Fortunately, the new mouse uses AA batteries, and I put in new batteries, and all was well. (As for the keyboard, the light is supposed to go off after a few seconds.)

Before I changed the batteries in the mouse, to encourage my support person’s troubleshooting skills, I told her, “When I turn on the keyboard, I see the power indicator come on, but when I turn the mouse on, I don’t see the light come on. That makes me think this could just be a matter of dead batteries,” but that didn’t seem to catch her attention.

Before we got off the phone (probably an hour after our conversation began), I said to her, “You know, I work in tech support myself, in a way, and when I started 17 years ago, I was constantly having to ask someone else, ‘How do you do this? How do you do that?’ But we learn new stuff every day, and one of these days, people will be coming to you and asking, ‘How do you do this? How do you do that?’

“What I think is crucial for a support person is to be pleasant and to remain relatively unflustered, and you are wonderful in both of these areas. If I get a chance to evaluate you, I will say you did an excellent job.” And we both hung up relieved and happy, and that was my very good deed.