(scene opens in cluttered dinning room)
Alpha: (stares angrily into space)
Me: (notices this, takes off headphones) What can I help you with?
Alpha: (frustrated) I’m supposed to read these short stories and write something about culture and how it defines us. You can’t help me.
Me: (sips coffee) Tell me about one of the stories. Maybe I can help you break down some thoughts.
Alpha: You can’t!
Me: Try me.
Alpha: Well, one is about this girl who’s embarrassed to stand in front of a 14 year old man and her dad burps when he eats fish. See? You can’t help me.
Me: (sips more coffee) By any chance is the 14 yr old boy the son of the pastor? A boy she has a crush on? When they come over for dinner, she’s totally embarrassed by the way her Chinese family is eating, and about dies when her dad offers her fish cheeks as the best part of the meal?
Me: So, yeah, that story is called “Fish Cheeks” and I read it when I was in school. A hundred years ago.
Alpha: (stares louder)
Me: (slurps coffee) Wanna tell me about the other two?
Alpha: (pouts, gets up, collects headphones) I’m going to join the Zoom classroom and ask questions.