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Out of sight, out of mind 眼不见为净

中国日报网 2021-10-12 14:00


Reader question:

Please explain “out of sight, out of mind” in this quote: “Are your old schoolmates out of sight, out of mind?”

My comments:

In this quote, someone asks whether you’re still in touch with your old schoolmates. Do you even remember them, now that you don’t see them as often? Have you forgotten them completely?

That’s, in essence, what “out of sight, out of mind” means.

Out of sight?

Yeah, that means you can’t see them.

Out of mind?

That means you’ve forgotten them. If your friends are still in your mind, you remember them. That means you haven’t forgotten them.

Following graduation from school, people move on to jobs and careers, then marriage, family of the own, kids and so forth. People move to different places, places in different cities, provinces, even countries.

Hence, physical contact is lost.

As a result, some old schoolmates begin to fade in memory.

That’s only natural.

But, here, I just want to remind you that old friends are worth to keep. For one thing, the older you get, the more you get to realize that even though you can always make new friends, you can never make old friends.

And one anecdote I keep in mind and often share with my cronies from school is from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson. Two separate passages from that classic run thus:

After a little rambling talk, the lawyer led up to the subject which so disagreeably preoccupied his mind.

“I suppose, Lanyon,” said he, “you and I must be the two oldest friends that Henry Jekyll has?”

“I wish the friends were younger,” chuckled Dr. Lanyon. “But I suppose we are. And what of that? I see little of him now.”

“Indeed?” said Utterson. “I thought you had a bond of common interest.”

“We had,” was the reply. “But it is more than ten years since Henry Jekyll became too fanciful for me. He began to go wrong, wrong in mind; and though of course I continue to take an interest in him for old sake’s sake, as they say, I see and I have seen devilish little of the man. Such unscientific balderdash,” added the doctor, flushing suddenly purple, “would have estranged Damon and Pythias.”

This little spirit of temper was somewhat of a relief to Mr. Utterson. “They have only differed on some point of science,” he thought; and being a man of no scientific passions (except in the matter of conveyancing), he even added: “It is nothing worse than that!” He gave his friend a few seconds to recover his composure, and then approached the question he had come to put. “Did you ever come across a protégé of his—one Hyde?” he asked.

“Hyde?” repeated Lanyon. “No. Never heard of him. Since my time.”


On the 8th of January Utterson had dined at the doctor’s with a small party; Lanyon had been there; and the face of the host had looked from one to the other as in the old days when the trio were inseparable friends. On the 12th, and again on the 14th, the door was shut against the lawyer. “The doctor was confined to the house,” Poole said, “and saw no one.” On the 15th, he tried again, and was again refused; and having now been used for the last two months to see his friend almost daily, he found this return of solitude to weigh upon his spirits. The fifth night he had in Guest to dine with him; and the sixth he betook himself to Dr. Lanyon’s.

There at least he was not denied admittance; but when he came in, he was shocked at the change which had taken place in the doctor’s appearance. He had his death-warrant written legibly upon his face. The rosy man had grown pale; his flesh had fallen away; he was visibly balder and older; and yet it was not so much these tokens of a swift physical decay that arrested the lawyer’s notice, as a look in the eye and quality of manner that seemed to testify to some deep-seated terror of the mind. It was unlikely that the doctor should fear death; and yet that was what Utterson was tempted to suspect. “Yes,” he thought; “he is a doctor, he must know his own state and that his days are counted; and the knowledge is more than he can bear.” And yet when Utterson remarked on his ill looks, it was with an air of great firmness that Lanyon declared himself a doomed man.

“I have had a shock,” he said, “and I shall never recover. It is a question of weeks. Well, life has been pleasant; I liked it; yes, sir, I used to like it. I sometimes think if we knew all, we should be more glad to get away.”

“Jekyll is ill, too,” observed Utterson. “Have you seen him?”

“But Lanyon’s face changed, and he held up a trembling hand. “I wish to see or hear no more of Dr. Jekyll,” he said in a loud, unsteady voice. “I am quite done with that person; and I beg that you will spare me any allusion to one whom I regard as dead.”

“Tut, tut!” said Mr. Utterson; and then after a considerable pause, “Can’t I do anything?” he inquired. “We are three very old friends, Lanyon; we shall not live to make others.”

Sounds a little sad, doesn’t it?

Anyway, here are recent media examples of “out of sight, out of mind”, meaning that which cannot be seen or is unnoticeable will readily be forgotten:

1. By the time city crews demolished Austin’s most prominent homeless encampment, Dominek Palmer and her husband, Charles Taylor, had already tried to leave.

Two weeks ago, police cited Palmer and Taylor for violating the city’s voter-approved ban on homeless encampments — for sleeping in their car under Interstate 35 at the intersection of Seventh Street downtown.

When they tried to drive somewhere else, Palmer said, their car ran out of gas on a nearby hill.

The morning of Sept. 29, the camp’s remaining residents were told to leave under threat of arrest as crews with the Austin Public Works Department removed at least two dozen tents. Austin police parked a paddy wagon at the encampment — which was right across the street from police headquarters.

“That’s our housing?” Palmer said. “If we don’t leave or we can’t get put up … y’all are offering us jail.”

Facing pressure from Gov. Greg Abbott, who championed a new statewide law banning camping in public places, Austin officials in recent weeks have cleared out the city’s most visible camps and sent a clear message to Austin’s homeless population: They are no longer welcome to live in plain view.

But Austin doesn’t have enough housing or shelter space for the estimated 3,000 residents experiencing homelessness.

With few choices, many Austinites experiencing homelessness have been forced to retreat out of sight for fear of getting ticketed or arrested.

For some, that means taking to the woods and pitching tents.

Sitting outside of a CVS pharmacy, John Nuñez watched city crews stuff tents, tarps and bedding into dump trucks as they cleared an encampment on the median at Pleasant Valley and Riverside Drive on Sept. 28.

Nuñez, 60, managed to convince employees of a nearby apartment complex to watch over some of his belongings — but still hauled a sizable amount, including a water jug, ice chest and outdoor grill.

Nuñez, who said he has been homeless for about two years, trekked to Austin from Big Spring last October when he learned that camping in public was allowed. Now, he’s adjusting to the new reality and said he planned to spend the night at a spot by a nearby creek.

“When the police see the camps ... they’re gonna come in now,” Nuñez said. “It used to be that they never came in there. Never.”


For Felix Gonzales and his dog, Pablo, there’s nowhere to go but the woods.

For a year and a half, Gonzales made his home an encampment under a bridge along Seventh Street near Pleasant Valley Road on Austin’s East Side. There, he had access to food, water and electricity. The homeless camp even had regular trash pickup, he said.

But authorities came in and cleared out the encampment in early August. Police officers told residents that the two hotels the city owns specifically to house the homeless didn’t have room for them, Gonzales said.

“All these people are looking for a place to go now,” Gonzales said. “Here comes quite a big question: Where are we going? Shoot, anywhere it’s safe and out of sight, out of mind.

- Austin’s homeless residents left with nowhere to go amid camping crackdown, TexasTribune.com, October 6, 2021.

2. The Florida man who corralled a loose alligator into a recycling bin described his thought process on the hunt for the reptile like this:

“‘I’m not going to be Ben Simmons. I’m gonna get me this basket,’” Eugene Bozzi said in a TV interview.

Would you be surprised to learn the alligator wrangler was a Philadelphia native?

Without playing a game, Simmons is getting dunked on, from wrestlers to weathermen to Shaq, and there’s no respite from the insults, not as long as he refuses to play for the Philadelphia 76ers. The three-time All-Star guard on Thursday night skipped the Sixers’ preseason home opener - the official status update was “not with team'” - and he’s now a pariah in Philly.

Simmons was out of sight, out of mind and out of the team pregame hype video, with no public hint of a resolution to the messy separation any time soon.

The Sixers have largely stopped talking about him, and really, who could add anything of substance that would live up to Joel Embiid’s open rebuke last week that the melodrama was “weird, disappointing, borderline kind of disrespectful to all the guys that are out here fighting for their lives”. The 25-year-old Australian, still with $147 million and four years left on his contract, these days is little more than a public punchline.

- 76ers get used to life at home without disgruntled Simmons, Associated Press, October 8, 2021.

3. As many of us grapple with how, when, and if we should return to the office, there is another question you may be considering: Is it possible to get a promotion or even a new job if you continue to work remotely?

To find out if the old adage, “out of sight, out of mind” is true, I talked to Dorie Clark. She’s an author, professor of business at Duke and Columbia, and a contributor for the Harvard Business Review and Fast Company. Clark says if you are in the position to make a decision about if you will return to the office, the first step is understanding what the culture of your company is turning into: If your boss is going to be in the office five days a week, it becomes a little bit harder, though not impossible, if you are fully remote because they’re going to be on a different page and a different schedule than you.

According to Clark, the most important consideration in advancing your career is building and maintaining relationships. That looks a little different in a hybrid or remote work situation.

“The overarching goal, whether you’re fully remote or part-time, is now you have to be really conscious of things that frankly, when you were in the office, you didn’t have to think about that much because they just happened . . . the natural ‘bump into you’ relationship building,” says Clark.

For hybrid workers, Clark says to make your in-office days really count and coordinate them with when other people who are critical to your career, or where you want to be, are also in the office. Still, she says, you can’t expect the kind of casual coffee meetups that happened in 2019 to take place when you return. “Nowadays, things require more planning. It’s not going to just work itself out. You actually want to look at your calendar the week before and say, ‘All right, what days am I going to be in the office? Who else is going to be in the office that day? Let me reach out now and make a plan so that we can grab coffee at 3 p.m. and catch up.’”

- How to get a promotion when working remotely, by Kathleen Davis, FastCompany.com, October 11, 2021.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)


Self-fulfilling prophecy 自证预言


On the outside looking in? 局外旁观


Click bait? 标题党


Strong-arm their way? 用武力的方式


Down the road? 日后


Dark horse? 黑马

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