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A nonagenarian, PhD challenger and romance

2021.09.23 16:53

강창오 조회 수:11

“How do you contribute to the effects of climate change?” Lawrence, a nonagenarian who I had just met first time asked me that unusual but fundamental question. “Ummmm… I just put the right amounts of water in the kettle for a cuppa to save energy”, I answered after a brief pause to his sudden and unexpected quizzing.

He looked at me blankly for a second and told me his way of reducing the emission of carbon monoxide to the air. “I just sent the Government bodies my theory that explaining the best way of dealing with the issue was using water. The prime aim of our government is to control the carbon monoxide by 2030 in switching from the energy source which is produced by fossil fuel especially in the field of mechanised vehicles such as cars and ships, to electricity being generated by gas. But the methods of producing electricity with gas is too expensive and that doesn’t stop emitting vast quantity of carbon monoxide which is a contradiction to its objectives. Water bears the best results and is cheap and of no carbon monoxide effects”. He briefly elaborated it to me looking straight into my eyes while I was trying to get my head around from listening to his scientific hypothesis. I too, attentively caught his eyes which were so piercing pleadingly and focussed while telling me his highly sophisticated analyses.

It was my local park café where I usually popped over for a pastime in the afternoon. After ordering my cuppa and snack which were a table service, I just sat down at a table. And almost immediately an elderly gentleman with a white cap on and stick approached poising and touched the chair next to mine. There were enough chairs, and I was sitting on my own, so I pulled one out for him. He too, sat down and ordered a cuppa and a cake, then he rambled a few words, “I’m going to fix that broken table”. I thought to myself presumably that he was suffering of dementia by hearing his words which didn’t mean anything to me at that time. Yet, he quickly walked over to another table as soon as the people who had sat there left. The table certainly looked wonky at glance. He turned it over, took a small screw driver out of his pocket and began to fix it. By witnessing that he was far from babbling or confused after all. After a few minutes of his caring handiwork, the table looked straight and firm which was impressive. He returned my table, sat down again and started to enjoy his cuppa and cake. Then he showed me his screw driver and said, “There aren’t many old folks who carry this tool like I do and fix broken furniture when found anywhere”.

He carried on indignantly, “Until eighteen months ago, I was quite a fit man, able to drive a car and walk without a stick. Then I had a fall while repairing a wardrobe belonged to my neighbour that left me with broken femur. The doctors had to attach a piece of metal bar to the bone but my thigh lost some strength and I now have to rely on this bloody stick since. I was mending someone’s furniture. How unfair was that?” I felt so sorry for him and couldn’t agree more!

Changing the subject, I randomly mentioned the strange weather that had been sweeping through the world in a very unpredictable pattern and the media was constantly focussing on. It was when his serious question stupefied me in what I had been doing to help. As forementioned, I had not expected nor prepared for his question and eloquent account on the climate issue that struck off my presumption at once that he was far from being dementia. He even assured me that dementia hadn’t got him yet which I hadn’t said a word about it.

Although I was remotely interested in Engineering, his grand theory made me curious. So, I began to engage in the conversation with him more sincerely and found about him a bit more. He indeed read Electronic Engineering unto the level of MSc and had good positions in several Industrial Institutes/ companies. As the world governments and Institutes were pushing the climate agenda more seriously, he wrote them a thesis based on his knowledge and experiences and was awaiting their replies. Then he added, he would pursue his Doctorate that had been delayed for all those years due to various reasons, in using this opportunity.

He also talked about his personal life starting with his marriage. Joan, he met in a dancing party in their university, knew at glance that she was the one for him. He never looked for another woman during their fifty years marriage as they were so content with each other as he described. How happy marriage it was until the illness struck her about ten years ago!, he emphasised. The front of his cap had a printed picture of them as a young couple he took off and showed me. He was still clearly missing her and recalled her last years of her suffering. She apparently began to show a sign of minor stroke but the doctors delayed the treatment for many months dismissing it wasn’t stroke. Doctors eventually admitted that it was when more strokes hit her which was too late to save her. She became totally paralysed that made she suffer immensely until her death occurred. He was quite angry about the whole medical process relating his wife’s illness, which had gone very wrong. He couldn’t just let the doctors mistake go, decided campaigning for a lengthy amount of time on the early treatment for others who would be in the similar situation. The medical team finally accepted his credence which led it to him being awarded.

After she died, he was so lonely but found a girl friend by chance, who was Chinese and had five year relationship but, then it didn’t work out in the end. He said, she had asked him for a gift of two hundred thousand dollars worth which he told his children who intervened and ended their relationship abruptly. He said, he was still fond of her but the demand for that colossal money had destroyed it. He even characterised me their romance of five years inclusive some in details which made me blush. Then he asked me with wide open eyes if presenting female partner a big sum of money was a customary in Chinese culture. I said that I wasn’t Chinese so I didn’t know the answer but agreed with him that that kind of money shouldn’t have been involved in people relationship. And he said, he was still looking for a girl friend but disappointed as the ladies kept rejecting whenever he requested for a date.

Before I left the cafe, he wanted to keep me posted the progress of his challenge on climate issue/ doctorate and asked my email address which I gave. Voila! On that evening I opened my email and there was his theory on that subject lurking at Cc:, a digested version which had been sent to the government and universities. As expected, it was very technical and written in higher level mathematics like Einstein’s equations which was beyond my comprehension. I was only able to pick up bits of it’s aim. He added a P.S in emphasis that he was going to challenge a PhD while he’d been preparing this research for the solution of climate change. At the end of reading it, I just couldn’t stop aweing for his formidable determination at his age.

Another surprising fact I found that, while conversing, he referred the exact wordings exchanged in our talks earlier on to next without failing which was very impressive. Most of younger persons inclusive myself could be forgetful of the words later which had been said earlier during heated discussions.

Regardless one’s age, everyone is different from one another in mental and physical capacities and Lawrence proves it well that an aged individual can contribute to the society so profoundly till their last breath.

I, firstly and sincerely, hope that any university/ Institute sees the real value of his theory that may alter the earth’s current fundamental issue such as the threats of climate change and assigns him a PhD; secondly, he soon finds a fine lady who is warm and good hearted and spends the rest of his days together with her.