Thursday, November 10, 2016

Trying to be

I've commented several times here how I enjoy the "Father Brown" mysteries PBS has been showing. This is the newer series (there was one back in the 80s, I think? That was more true to Chesterton's original). This isn't the true Chestertonian Father Brown - the series is reset to a small town (Kembleford) in the 1950s, and the original Father Brown seemed to travel a lot more, and was also an early-20th-century figure. I know serious Chestertonians probably disapprove of the series; there are a few themes that come up that I slightly suspect Chesterton would have disapproved of himself.

But I like Mark Williams' portrayal of the character. Yes, he's a different Fr. Brown from how I imagined the figure from the stories - my imagined figure was short, thin, and angular, and Williams is of at least average height and is plumpish with a rounded face. But there's something I love about how he inhabits the character.

One of the big things I like about how Williams plays Father Brown is the unflappability. He has, on occasion, delivered a witty comment while still in Mortal Peril (Though perhaps that's in keeping with the fact he's playing a priest: Father Brown's body may be in Mortal Peril, but he knows his soul is not). Or he can even do almost a woman-at-the-well talk with someone bent on doing harm.

(And I think I might ask for one of the boxsets of dvds for Christmas)

And part of it is that I wish I were better at being unflappable. At my best, when I'm calm and well-rested and have nothing too dire staring me down in future days, I can be. And I am better at being unflappable about other people's emergencies.

Like today. I had a student call me up:

"Dr. fillyjonk? This is [redacted] in your 11 am class. I was in a car wreck!" (I should note she is fighting tears as she is telling me this.) "My dad is coming to get me but I don't think I'll make it in time for class today"

(Today was to be a quiz and a review for the upcoming exam. This is someone who is a very diligent student so (a) I don't suspect shenanigans at all* and (b) I can understand her upset about missing a quiz and also a class where attendance counts)

So I asked her first: "You're not hurt?" to try to gently bring her back to what's important here, and when she told me no, I told her "That's what's important. You can stay after you finish the exam on Tuesday and make up the quiz." She said a few more things - crying now - and I said "It's okay, things like this happen some times."

She thanked me and rang off. I hope I said the right thing there but really, I'd rather someone be unhurt in an accident and just miss a quiz - which they can take later on. Also the fact that she has a dad near her who can come and get her so she's not stuck trying to find some way to get home (As I was years ago when my transmission died down in Denison. I admit I still have faint worries when I go far from home - what do I do if my car dies. I suppose *55 is still a thing, but I don't know if state troopers can help arrange for a ride for someone who is stranded)

(*As in the old 'Which tire was flat?' legend)

No comments: