I’m uncomfortable asking people if I can take a picture of them for my blog. This is why I usually just take candid shots of folks in action. Most at the guan are accustomed to having their pictures plastered across the web, either on the school’s website or on its Facebook page. So they simply raise an eyebrow at me and go about their business. That’s how I got this one of “Pooh”…
…and this one of Siheng Steve.
But what to do about the ones who deserve to be commemorated that I would have to ask?
“Larry!” I said Thursday morning, mustering the right balance between middle-aged composure and the teenaged enthusiasm I felt. He raised his hand high in the air and swooped it down to dramatically grab mine and shake it. “Congratulations on baby number three,” I added. “How old now?”
He answered eight months, confirming that it had been more than a year since I’d last seen him. The shots I was given over the winter for my lower back problems eliminated any need to see my orthopedist and the physician assistant of hers who practically took my hand off saying hello. So Larry and I had a lot to of catching up to do.
As he checked out the shoulder pain from my staff practice that’s impeding my sleep, we chatted about his kids, my new kung fu forms, his new house, my old job, the abandonment of his training as a runner, where I am in my kung fu teaching life, and so on. By the time my x-rays returned to tell us that nothing’s broken or floating around in my socket, I felt like I’d been out to lunch with a college roommate instead of freezing my buns off in a doctor’s office.
I had once been near tears in his examination room, less than a month after my fifth knee scope, listening to him tell me that his boss, my surgeon, was not likely to authorize any additional cortisone shots to the knee (I’d already had my two for the year). I knew that I probably couldn’t tough it through the end of black sash testing without mitigating the pain for my battered, arthritic, reconstructed joints. He knew it, too. And he rescued me.
He chose the replacement synthetic cartilage shot that would get me to and through the final test, when the regular one suddenly stopped working. To complete test number three with a little less angst and a little more skill, he squeezed me into his schedule on a day that the waiting room was overrun and extracted excess fluid from a swollen knee that was almost incapacitating. Each of the three times I saw him from the last surgery to the award of my sash, he asked for the date of my final black sash test. And after doing the math for the countdown, he told himself aloud how many more weeks he needed to keep my legs working, then reaffirmed to me that he’d do his best to get me to the finish line.
I love Larry. I couldn’t thank him fast enough after it was all over. One of these days, I’m going to have to get a picture of him.