Coming up next! (Bot Repellent)
T e a s e r
The scent of fish and tofu soup was still lingering in their home. Lin Zhao Xi returned to her room, the night was quiet, on her table was the documents for teaching certificate tests.
After Mr. Lin was diagnosed with Alzheimer, he started to act a little out of his mind.
Sometimes he recalled past memories, sometimes he made chicken soup for the soul, he even asked thought-provoking questions to make one grill their souls. Lin Zhao Xi tried her best not to think about his latest words, but, how could she?
As the daughter of a former mathematician, her mathematics foundation wasn’t bad.
When she was small, not only had Mr. Lin overly devoted to her studying beginner level of maths, but she herself was also interested in learning it; she was even extremely happy to attend Olympics Mathematics class.
If she kept learning with the attitude she had when she was young, although she might not be as excellent as Pei Zhi, she wouldn’t feel inferior out of ignorance when she saw his question.
But unknowingly since, she stopped learning, stopped reading any maths related documents.
She was scared of maths, she deeply regarded it as the field for geniuses that ordinary people couldn’t enter.
Recalling that time, Lin Zhao Xi was shaking and cold sweating, she quickly stopped her mind from wandering.
Her life journey was distorted from beforehand, then let it be. For now, Mr. Lin was still her utmost importance.
Lin Zhao Xi quickly rubbed her face, turned on her computer, found contents on how to set a living surrounding that best fitted an Alzheimer’s patient, made herself busy in order to avoid thinking frivolously.
Alzheimer made recent memories weak, but long-termed memories could be stimulated.
That was why items that make them happy and comfortable could be placed in easily seen places around the house, e.g. old photos, their favorite plants, etc.
In addition, Alzheimer’s patients found it hard to recognize their home, hence, one could make some special signs on the gate to help them distinguish.
Lin Zhao Xi wrote down the notes on the notepad.
Items that made Mr. Lin happy and comfortable, and reminiscent?
Did she have to hang on the wall proof of Format’s theorem?
She imagined their walls in the future would be full of Mathematics formulas, what a sight.
After having seen all types of documentaries, Lin Zhao Xi came to the conclusions. The foremost matter was that Mr. Lin easily forgot to bring their house keys, so that changing their security into fingerprints locks would solve the problem.
However, the apartment they were staying was the large old-fashioned residential area with over a hundred of buildings, each building had its own courtyard; if Mr. Lin returned home after going out, he would easily be confused at these identical yards.
Making signs at the gate and walls…
She put her notes into her pockets, changed her shoes and headed out.
It had already been midnight, streetlights dimly lit in the old neighborhood, except for the sounds of the wild cats, there were no other noises.
She went through the courtyard, pushed away the morning glory plant leaning on the gate, and stood outside of her house’s wall.
Next to her feet was a box full of chalk.
She raised her head looking at the wall.
When she was small, they lived in a small house in the center of the city; even though the house was still suffered from rain leaks, it had a small courtyard. Mr. Lin worked on the day while at night he worked part-time as a waiter.
At 9 o’clock every night, she would sit in front of their home waiting for Mr. Lin.
The starlight at summer nights was extremely beautiful, Mr. Lin would always bring back some snacks, yet he never looked exhausted.
They sat under loofah vine on the courtyard eating snacks together, every single time Mr. Lin would terribly shamelessly fight over food with her.
While eating, Mr. Lin would tell her all types of science tales: what Pasteur discovered the hidden asymmetry of hydrochloric acid crystals; Franklin and lightning rods…
Children from the neighborhood would come to hear, after all Mr. Lin was really good at telling those stories.
Except there was one time that was particularly funny.
While Mr. Lin was telling the tales, he was stunned by a professor’s son living nearby.
Ignorant* kids were scarier than ignorant teenagers, this boy said, what Mr. Lin said were useless, real science was highly deep, Mr. Lin was using dumb stories to trick them (中二, or Chuunibyou syndrome).
In fact, that wasn’t wrong…
But that little boy started to recite Newton’s Three Laws and Pythagorean theorem or something, which was pretty terrifying.
In the beginning, Mr. Lin stayed silent, he listened with an amused smile. After the boy had recited multiple formulas, Mr. Lin stood up to do what now Lin Zhao Xi also considered to be extremely childish*. (中二).
He held the boy’s hand and led him out of their house, picked up half of the red brick on the side road, then on the wall, under the dim streetlight, he wrote a formula.
e = mc2
Mr. Lin: “Do you know what this is?”
“Einstein!” The boy arrogantly said, “Theory of relativity!”
Mr. Lin did not comment, he still held that brick, wrote another more complex formula on the wall, asked: “What about this?”
The second formula started with an R, along with more superscripts and subscripts.
Lin Zhao Xi couldn’t understand, the boy was also speechless.
But it would not be Mr. Lin to stop right there, he continued to write, the third one was another maths expression with brackets to expand…
Whatever it was, Lin Zhao Xi didn’t comprehend it.
After this, Mr. Lin did not stop, the next formulas he wrote couldn’t be described by words anymore.
One formula after another appeared with the brick in Mr. Lin’s hand, they didn’t stop until the entire wall was filled with them.
In the end, he tossed away the eroded red brick, and told the boy: “Why don’t you continue identifying those?”
Mr. Lin’s face was arrogantly annoying.
Meanwhile, the boy’s face was red with embarrassment, he couldn’t utter a word.
A moment later, Mr. Lin slowly came to his second formula started with an R, his tone was unexpectedly calm.
He said: “This is Einstein’s field equations of general relativity.”
“This is Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity.”
“This is Dirac equation.”
“This is Chen-Gauss-Bonnet Theorem.”
“This is Lorenz equation.”
“These are Maxwell’s equations.”
Finally, Mr. Lin returned to e = mc2, said: “And this isn’t Theory of relativity, it is Einstein’s mass–energy equation.” (Dear Mr. Lin, I love you, but translating the names of all these formulas was hell.)
After that, the boy started crying aloud. The other children looked at the formula-filled wall and felt bewildered. (me too kids, I was bewildered by his childishness too)
Yet at that moment, Mr. Lin sat down, used his dirty hands to wipe the boy’s tears and asked: “Why are you crying?”
The little boy was so infuriated he couldn’t say a word but keep on crying.
Mr. Lin mumbled: “So did you cry because you think an adult like me bullied you, or was it because you felt embarrassed in front of your friends, or was it because you think these formulas are too difficult too frustrating?”
Mr. Lin: “But obviously, in front of your friends you had just done something similar to what I did.”
“Making use of your good memory to brag about the formulas, isn’t it very irritating?”
The little boy cried even louder, Lin Zhao Xi looked around, nervously wondered if this boy’s family arrived to beat Mr. Lin up.
Nonetheless, it wouldn’t be Mr. Lin to care about these things.
“There will always be someone with better memory than you.” Mr. Lin said.
“When you only remembered the formulas, a random person who remembered more formulas than you will make you heart-broken.”
“Why? Because you actually know nothing.”
“If you remember the formulas, what you can see were merely those signs and others praising you, but in fact, these…” Mr. Lin pointed at the formula-filled wall, then pointed at the starry sky above, “Are that.”
Lin Zhao Xi murmured, then her father knocked her head.
“Please call it universe.”
If the children kept on asking what universe was, the story would become endless. Apparently, when it was 9 in the evening, the majority of kids didn’t have the patience to listen to an energetic young man blabbering about those truths of universe behind each formula.
That was why when Mr. Lin talked about Pythagorean theorem, there were hardly any people left.
Mr. Lin was talking cheerfully when he realized there was only the crying boy in front of him.
Lin Zhao Xi sat next to the gate looking at them and yawned.
Mr. Lin then threw away the brick, started to conclude: “In conclusion, merely memorizing the formulas is useless. Because you guys were too young to understand their truly meanings, so that I told you some interesting stories, what is the matter with that?”
Lin Zhao Xi: “…” (yes dear, I understand, I was speechless too)
Little boy: “My… my father says… I need to memorize.”
“What your father says is not as precise as what her father says.”
At that time, she was so sleepy that her body was staggering, yet she could still vaguely recalled Mr. Lin pointed at her and said pretentiously.
In short, in her memory, this was a quite exaggerating story.
Mr. Lin was high-spirited; he would lure young children to educate them science in a brainwashing manner.
As for her, she was still very small, her future life path ahead of her was long and full of possibilities.
Not at all similar.
Her cellphone buzzed, Lin Zhao Xi regained consciousness.
She unlocked her phone, on the screen was a WeChat message.
Mr. Liu (刘) – [My father knows the Head of Neurology department in Liu (六) Hospital, let’s eat out together tomorrow, I’ll introduce you to him.]
Holding her phone tight, lifting her eyelids, she held a deep breath.
In front of her was the original-colored wooden door panel, she bent down, picked up the chalk on the ground, took a step forward, and wrote on the door the equation that Mr. Lin had randomly written first at that time.
e = mc2
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