Any Other Name

The song Any Other Name by Thomas Newman is playing.

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet.

Names.

So the other shoe did not drop. Despite a nagging fear of the unknown and of the known (what I do know of marriage), I got married and it was spectacularly beautiful and fun and the memory of it was all cool grays and warm oranges and lots of champagne and happiness.

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The month before the wedding of course, I had to decide what to do with my name.

I kept my name.

Mostly, so people could find me again if they wanted to. And because some of my friends still call me by my entire name – Tabitha Pang, just because. And it always makes me smile. You know, I thought I’d want to lose that name as soon as possible, bring to a complete close, any connection to my father. But that ugly old wound will never close and you know when your mom tells you,¬†don’t lose who you are, you have to listen to her.

It’s the end of a full day – ¬†three English classes, two miles with the students, nineteen minutes with the T25 fit club, and just thirty minutes in my classroom, with myself.

I ended up writing about my name, when really I wanted to write about Superintendent Deasy’s letter to all of LAUSD about technology. It was a three page letter or four, setting the record straight. What I got from it is, he didn’t favor contracts with Apple, he wants all kids to have a shot at 21st century learning, and he isn’t in it for himself, its for the kids.

We’re all in it for ourselves. Everybody is. And, we also are in it for the kids.

All of the students I teach should have a laptop, a smartphone, and wireless internet access anytime. But they do not have it – not at school and not always at home. It is so unfair, and students from wealthier neighborhoods simply have more.

We were in Da Nang for our honeymoon. One night we needed to tell our driver how to get us from the Big Lady Buddha to this restaurant and somehow, miraculously, I had wi-fi access and a digital map.

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Dinner was great. I thought I would pay for it later. But I never did. I found out from the Vietnamese lady that does my nails, that Da Nang is not only completely paved, but has free wi-fi for the entire city. That’s Da Nang, Vietnam.

What is it all about? It doesn’t matter if it’s an Apple of if it’s an HP, we just need the technology and the internet, now. Whether or not Deasy and the rest of LAUSD were being ethical or not is I feel, important, but really just a distraction to the larger issue of income inequality. If we don’t get what we need fast enough to catch our students up to the world they’ll need to survive in, there must be something more than access to technology that needs to change.

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