This conversation took place today at a cafe in Yokohama between a student and I.
Me: Hey, how are you?
Student: I don’t feel so well.
Me: Physically or emotionally?
Me: Sorry to hear that…want to talk about it? I’ll understand if you don’t, though.
Student: Ok…it’s my new job. The people are nice, polite, very professional, but. every time I walk into the office, though… I don’t know why but I feel…I feel tired and bad. Really bad.
Me: I think I know what you mean. I used to have that feeling when I worked for NOVA. All I could think about was getting through the day. I’d look at the clock from the time I walk in til the time I leave.
Student: Yeah, something like that. But, worse!
Me: Sounds like you’ve got Dementors in your office.
Student: De…nani? (what?)
Me: Dementors…I don’t know how y’all say it in Japanese, but remember in the Harry Potter movies? They were these black shadowy creatures that fly around and suck the joy and happiness out of any space they inhabit…and eventually they suck it out of you!
Student: Oh yeah, I remember.
Me: You need yourself a Patronus! (student gives quizzical look) You know, that animal, it was a Stag, that Harry Potter would make to fight them off. He had to find a happy thought. A thought so full of joy and, you know, love and what not.
Student: A Patronus?
Me: It’s a metaphor, of course. But the same principle applies…
Student: Meta for? Ah, metaphor!
Me: That’s right! There’s dark energy in that office. I don’t know the source, and I doubt if it’s magic or anything like that, but it’s there and it’s real. You can feel it, right?
Student: Yes! Strongly.
Me: So, you’ve got to ward it off with positive energy. Otherwise it will suck you dry! Got a picture of a nephew or niece you adore? Got an award you won for your photography? Got a screen saver that never fails to make you smile…Stuff like that. You gotta arm yourself.
Student: Really? You think it’s Dementors?
Me: Definitely. I mean, why do you think those Harry Potter books are so popular, anyway? Sure, luck and timing were factors, but I think it’s because Rowling used her imagination and tapped into the ideas that most people believe in instinctively and just gave them magical names and qualities. You know?
Students: Metaphors, huh?
Me: That’s right! Me, I use music. I get a song that makes me feel amazing and I hum it all day! Sometimes I even sing it. My students used to look at me like I was crazy. Now, hell, they sing along. Michael Jackson is my go-to guy, usually. Him or Stevie Wonder. Works like a charm!
Student: Thanks Loco, I feel better already!
Me: No sweat!