My mom has a weekly column in my hometown paper entitled “Walk with Me.” Her columns are insightful, touching upon topics she thinks about as she walks the dog around our small-town community.
Here is her latest, involving the term “slippage.”
Walk with Me
by Priscilla Wieck
How are you doing after living through several weeks of social isolation? Have you experienced any slippage yet? You may be as unfamiliar with that word as I was when daughter Connie asked me a few weeks ago, “Have you had any slippage lately?” I thought she meant had I recently taken a tumble. I did trip over the dog’s leash last week and sprained my naughty finger, but that’s another story and not what she meant. She explained that she first heard of slippage from the director of the Amity Foundation in the organization’s Hong Kong office when she was one of several English teachers newly arrived in China to teach under the auspices of that particular NGO.
The Amity director, a proper Canadian, occasionally visited the recruits to see how they were getting along in their various postings and to offer advice about living and working in a foreign country. One of the things he would caution them against was slippage. He had discovered through the years that sometimes when the teachers, old and young, were in unfamiliar situations, they didn’t behave the same as they would in their home environments. This occasionally caused a problem for the teacher as well as bad press for the Amity organization. In other words, keep up your standards of behavior to avoid slippage.
There are several meanings of slippage. One pertains to the stock market, as in stock values slipping below what the purchase worth was. I think that is happening now although I am far from an expert. Very far!
Other meanings can be “failure to to maintain an expected level or standard, a decline or delay, a falling off.” Connie and I have been entertaining ourselves by trying to figure out if our isolation behavior has morphed into slippage or if it is just plain old adjusting to unusual circumstances.
An example: Is it slippage to wear the same pair of jeans and sweatshirt for a week? After all, who is going to see me? It has been so cold this week that I have had to wear my winter coat for our daily walks. I am saving a bit on the water bill, am I not?
How about hair washing? Again, no one sees my hair under those ear warmers. Why shampoo every day? Years ago when we all went to the beauticians for our weekly wash and set, we got along OK. Granted our hair didn’t look so good at the end of the week, but now, who’s to see me?
Has slippage occured when, at 10:30 a.m., I take the daily yard tour wearing Bill’s old sweatshirt and PJ bottoms? Good thing I have the dog to walk or I might not bother getting dressed for the entire day. Again, saving washing water. Except for Sunday a.m. when Pastor Bob is hosting a “Coffee with Bob” on Zoom. Be sure to be suitably clothed, he advises. If we join in, we may be seen.
Our binge watching of “Call the Midwives” on Netflix until the wee hours of the night, and not getting the advised 6-8 hours of sleep, might qualify as slippage . However, I have watched so many babies being born I think I could supervise a birth in an emergency. Surely that is educational!
Roasting a turkey breast and dining on it for several suppers in a row, shopping on QVC for clothes I may not get to wear outside of the house for some time, checking out celebrities’ scandals on the computer and just messing around the house may also be judged as suspicious activities that could be called a slipping of standards.
But who sets the standards and who is judging? As many signs around town have proclaimed,”We Are All In This together.” Whatever helps get us all get through these trying times is acceptable as far as I am concerned. Just observe these two things: 1. Pick up your dog poop in others’ yards 2. And, please, don’t throw your trash into the street!
“Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? He’s a mile away and you’ve got his shoes.”