Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Left Hand Of God

There are times in life when we can feel, almost see, the hand of God reaching through the clouds and creating miracles, or at least mysteries, in the world around us. Those are moments that I cherish.

I’m proctoring tests this week, and that is always a time that is rich in mystery and wonder. It provides me with an intense immersion in Thai language, because there are usually no English speakers around to make me lazily speak only English. And consider the test takers. Tests are always a time of stress, and it is always interesting to observe people under stress. (Particularly when you are not under stress yourself.) I actually calculated the other day just how much proctoring I’ve done at my current job. Ten years, five test sessions every year, two long, two short, about twenty-five days per year, so then, 250 days all together of proctoring tests. It’s been interesting. That should surprise no one who knows me.

One thing that I habitually do is gauge the incidence of left-handedness in the room. This is on a session by session basis, two sessions per day. The big pattern is that the incidence of left-handedness has been going down over the last ten years. There are occasional spikes, however, and this current four-day session is one of them.

On the first day I noticed more left handers than I had become accustomed to. I chalked this up to the subject matter: mathematics and accounting. For some reason, those two subjects attract more than the average number of left-handed people. On the second day, yesterday, all hell broke loose.

For the afternoon session, with no math or accounting in sight, it came to pass that the number three seat in rows one, two, three, four, five, and six, were all left handed. Different subjects for odd and even rows, all seats assigned strictly by student number, and yet six students in a row, crosswise, were left handed. It was like waking up in a mirror-world. To make matters more bizarre, anywhere that I stood in my side of the room, I could look around and find a few lefties immediately.

Alive with excitement and wonderment at this once in a lifetime vision, I sought to share this information with my new friends. “Look! Seat number three! Six in a row! All left-handed!” I got that now all too typical reaction: a slight smile of bemusement at the silly things that Farang find interesting. First there’s a, “so what?” moment as the Thais realize what you are talking about, and this is followed by a more profound, “so what?” when they realize that you think that this stuff is fascinating.

Today the occurrence of lefties was hardly noticeable, as has become the norm in recent years. But even Mr. Jesus did not multiply loaves and fishes every day. Yesterday was some kind of mysterious, dare I say miraculous, event. I witnessed the left hand of God come through the clouds and create something unusual. I may have been the only one to notice, but that alone does not make me crazy. It really happened! I swear!

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