The reports of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak are disturbing enough, even when it seems so far away. For many people outside of China, the news is mostly curiosity, perhaps even of a morbid fascination.
But then we get headlines of a few possible cases popping up here in New Hampshire, individuals who recently traveled from China. Still, those have been limited to other parts of the state, a distance away from us.
Where it gets personal for my wife and me is thinking of Chinese students we’ve hosted in our home for a month or so apiece while they worked volunteer internships in our community. They’re from that part of China, though not Wuhan itself. In effect, they put a face we know on the event and have us concerned for their health and safety and that of their families.
Yes, sometimes it is a small world.
Winter / Chimney
Now on the sixth day:
bulls eight, rams two
– Numbers 29:29
Everett Fox translation
Sounds like a National Football League forecast, apart from the improbability of the score itself. Besides, it’s set for a Saturday, not Sunday.
Still I was amused when that line popped out at me from the page.
Now, for a little perspective, here’s how Robert Alter renders the text:
And on the sixth day eight bulls, two rams, and fourteen unblemished yearling lambs.
It’s all part of a series of proscribed daily sacrificial burnt offerings.
Any Chicago or Los Angeles fans out there?
Today, a month and eight days after I placed a kitchen-goods online order during a Cyber-Monday sale, I finally have closure on a Christmas present that was never shipped, much less delivered. It was supposed to be here December 9, a date that kept getting pushed back to January 20, as it last stood.
Desperately, when I realized the said item wasn’t going to arrive in time for the gift exchange, contrary to promises, I found other presents to wrap and place under the tree for my beloved. But that didn’t resolve the suspense of the tangled order. Nobody could or would do anything to come through for me, not even cancel the order. I hate feeling helpless. Or, for that matter, idiotic. I was told to stay calm, it would be here on time. Except, of course, it wasn’t.
Now, thanks to a vigilant customer service supervisor who followed up at the end of December on a long call I had made shortly before Christmas, the order is now cancelled. Whew! Inhale deeply. I’m no longer hanging in limbo. The email of confirmation arrived today.
It wasn’t easy. We all hate fighting bureaucracies, whether they’re capitalist corporations or governmental agencies.
From other interactions regarding the order, I have the feeling the supervisor was swimming upstream through company policy to finally arrive at a solution, and for that I’m appreciative. Perhaps she was able to identify a breakdown in the bigger system and get something fixed. These actions reflect the kind of dedication that deserves promotion. I’ll always root for the underdog.
In many ways, this was a no-win situation. Who knows how much they spent processing the order or parrying my calls and emails, the ones before she emailed me out of the blue, noting that she had been checking her records and saw that nothing had happened yet. I asked (again) that the order be cancelled, and two days later she came through. All in all, it probably adds up to as much as I would have spent on the product and negatively impacted on the bottom line. Admittedly, I’m now unlikely to ever again buy from the company. At least not until she winds up as CEO.
Still, it’s reassuring to know somebody cared and knows what it means to be doing the real job.