On being … silent

By Ingrid Sapona

On being … is meant to be musings on things that happen in everyday life that trigger reactions or behaviours that I think are common, if not universal. As such, other than in the year-end alphabetic review, I don’t write about politics or things going on in the wider world.

So, today’s column probably seems like a departure from what On being… is supposed to be about. While the recent massacre in Florida is weighing heavy on my mind and heart – as I’m sure it is with many readers – strictly speaking, that’s not what I am writing about today. Instead, what I am writing about is the question of why so many people in America don’t even engage in discussion about gun control.

I’ll never forget being at a weekend yoga retreat with friends of friends in New England just a short time after the Sandy Hook shooting. Nearly everyone that attended the retreat had school-age children and so I was quite sure the incident would be a major topic of conversation. And yet, it wasn’t. Indeed, other than my raising it – it didn’t come up at all. Ok, I thought, maybe this is their “weekend away” from it all, or maybe it was too unspeakable a tragedy for them to give voice to it so shortly after it happened. But still, I found it odd that no one talked about it.

Since then I’ve raised gun control as a topic a number of times with American friends, and there just seems to be a total disconnect. The people that want guns are not silent about their “rights”, but people who oppose guns are silent. How can that be, I wonder. Do they not know that silence is essentially assent? Or, do they think that ignoring the issue will make it go away? Or maybe they are scared…

After each of these shootings there’s always lots of talk about hatred – about how the shooters hated this group or that group. While I understand the desire to try to understand what may or may not be motivating shooters, I think the focus on the shooter’s motivation is because the discussion of gun control is taboo in the U.S. While addressing the root causes of hatred, or mental illness, or whatever is behind such incidents is important, these are not things that can be addressed through laws or policy changes. But, preventing people from being able to buy guns and assault weapons is something that can be addressed as a society. Or, to put it another way, we may not be able to do much to prevent hatred, but we can take steps to prevent those with hatred or mental illness from being armed.

I decided to write this column today – no, I feel compelled to write this column – because if you believe, as I do, that U.S. gun laws have to change – you have a duty to talk about the issue, rather than go silent. I have to believe the majority of Americans – like most of us in the rest of the western world – don’t think individuals should have guns and assault weapons. But, so long as the majority remains silent on this issue, each and every person who simply sits back – or who refrains from pressing for gun control – bares some responsibility for such tragedies. So, as I always do, I hope this column makes you consider where you stand on gun control and reminds you of the price of silence.

© 2016 Ingrid Sapona


On being … unhelpful

By Ingrid Sapona

This past week I switched my internet, TV, and home phone providers. I had pretty basic services but the monthly fee was crazy high and it seemed every other month one of them went up by $2 or $3 – small increments that sure added up over time! So, when a new company began service in my building, I decided to try it.

The internet change was a simple decision – a much faster service at 55% of the price. Based on price alone, going with the new provider for the TV seemed a simple decision too – again, about a 50% savings. But, the personal video recorders (PVRs) used by the new TV doesn’t have the same features as the old PVR. For example, the number of shows you could record at the same time – and the ability to pause live TV. (When it was introduced, I thought it was stupid. But believe me, it’s something I have come to love – it’s like a wireless remote for locking/unlocking the car. Once you have one, you can’t imagine living without it.)

Anyway – as it happened, when they set up my new system, they left the old one in place. It was my job to contact my old service provider to cancel and return their equipment. They were offering the first month of TV free, so I decided to wait a few days before I cancelled my old TV service. I wanted to make sure I was going to like the new PVR. As with all new tech gadgets, I knew there’d be a learning curve, and I was prepared – more-or-less.

The first surprise was how small the PVR is. My old PVR was about the size of a VCR. The new one is tiny – about the size of a 6 oz. steak. And the remote is unbelievably complicated. It clearly was designed by tech geeks – probably a TEAM of tech geeks – and each of them must have come up with a “cool feature” that they included on the remote. (If you think I’m exaggerating, I would only mention that the back of the remote has a full keyboard. Get the picture?)

The technician who installed the system did the initial TV setup for me and quickly showed me the basics. To record you have to insert a jump drive into the PVR. I had a spare one and so we tried it. We got an error message and he thought it was because I had some files on the jump drive. So, the next day I bought a new one and tried it. I got the same error message. I called tech support and explained the recurring problem. The tech support guy was sure he could fix it.

I did as the tech support guy directed, but I got the same message. He asked me to do it again – so I did – but same message. He asked me to do a few other things and I did. (I got the sense he was testing whether I could follow his directions, but I didn’t say anything – I simply did as I was directed. With those steps the PVR and remote behaved as he expected them to.) So then we did the first thing again but got the same error message.

He then asked me to do something with the jump drive at my computer, and I did. But, when we tried the first thing again and got the usual error message, he mumbled “that can’t be”. Clearly he thought I was doing something different from what he said to do, which is why it wasn’t working. We danced around like this a bit more and then he said: “this has never happened before. Never.” At this point, I lost it. I snarkily replied, “Well, congratulations – today is May 7th and you can no longer say the problem I’m running into has NEVER happened. It has NOW!”

No doubt sensing my irritation, he said he’d need to check something and he would call me back in about a half hour, if that was ok. I said it was and we ended our conversation. Four hours later, when I didn’t hear back from him, I phoned tech support again and I asked for him. When I got him, he apologized for not getting back to me and said the best thing to do would be to reset the device to the factory settings and start over. We did and that fixed the problem.

What that solution didn’t fix, however, was the attitude he had. Indeed, that whole “it can’t be working the way you say it is” seems common among guys I’ve dealt with in tech support roles. I get that it must be a frustrating job – dealing with all sorts of issues and all sorts of people with all different levels of computer and tech savvy. But that’s the nature of the job. And what kind of a response is: “that never happens” or “that can’t be”?

When I’m in a charitable mood, I ignore the innuendo that the problem is me or that I’m doing something wrong. Instead, I chalk it up to the fact that they’re young and inexperienced, which is why maybe they do believe that technology NEVER breaks or that tech gadgets don’t malfunction. If that’s the case, they’re in for a surprise.

Meanwhile, I wish companies would realize that to be helpful, a tech support person doesn’t just need technical/product knowledge – they need a bit of humility too.

© 2016 Ingrid Sapona

On being … confirmation

By Ingrid Sapona

One of the things I appreciate most about getting older is that every now and then evidence emerges that confirms something I thought or felt, but that I had no way of proving when it first happened. Interestingly, when the definitive proof surfaces, it usually comes out of nowhere. Given that there’s often a long time between the incident and the confirmation, it’s not that the end result ever changes. But, the confirmation is valuable because it gives me ever more reason to trust my intuition and instinct.

The things it’s happened about often relate to gut instincts or readings I’ve made of others’ behaviours or their reactions in specific situations. They’re often situations where I was left wondering whether I’ve misread something or misunderstood another person’s intention.

The incidents I’m referring to have all ended up being minor, in the scheme of life. (Another great thing about aging, of course, is the perspective that allows one to realize this…) But, at the time they happened, they didn’t feel so minor. Indeed, it’s precisely because they were incidents that I ruminated over for some time that, when the proof appears, even though lots of time may have passed, I connect the dots and I’m finally able to put my mind at rest.

I realize this sounds a bit vague, so maybe an example would help. One situation related to not being hired by a firm I had interned with. It was a yearlong, paid internship – one of about two dozen that this firm had. Because there was nothing negative in the feedback I had been given all year, I was disappointed when I wasn’t hired on.

Though I tried to take it in stride, my mentor’s reaction when I asked if he’d be a reference contributed to my second-guessing. He seemed surprised by my request. Now, on top of feeling that I had misread the feedback I had gotten throughout the year, I wondered if I had completely misread my relationship with my mentor. Did he not feel comfortable as a reference? The prospect of my misinterpreting so many relationships was more troubling than not getting the job offer.

Then, when he asked me to take a seat and he shut the door and asked me why I didn’t want to stay at the firm, I was really confused. I explained that it wasn’t that I didn’t want to stay, it was that I hadn’t been offered a job. Embarrassed, he said he was so sure I would be hired, he never checked the list to see who had been offered positions. So, it seemed I wasn’t the only one who had been wrong about the likelihood the firm would have me back. Anyway, the fact he offered to help me in my job hunt and was more than happy to be a reference, at least helped me feel I hadn’t misread his reaction to me.

Months later, after I had moved on, I had lunch with my mentor and he shared with me some curious comments he found in my HR file. One comment was something like, “well, she wasn’t as self-possessed or know-it-all as we thought she’d be”. Clearly, there were negative preconceptions about me – hurdles I didn’t even know were in my way. My mentor found the source of the innuendo: an HR admin person who somehow felt threatened by me and, before the internship started, had told folks that because of my education and experience, I had a big ego. (He also told me that the admin person had since been let go.) As I said, by the time I got this information, there was nothing I could do with it, but it was satisfying to get proof that I hadn’t misinterpreted the feedback I got, I just didn’t know all that I was up against.

Anyway, that story is ancient history but it, and other situations where my instinct was proved right, came to mind this week because of the news story involving Dr. Heimlich – yes, the namesake of the Heimlich Manoeuvre. He’s 96 and is in an assisted living residence in Cincinnati. Last week a woman sitting at his table at dinner started choking. Dr. Heimlich sprang into action and administered several Heimlich Manoeuvre upward thrusts until the meat she was choking on popped out. While that may not seem particularly newsworthy or surprising – given that he invented the technique in 1974 – what is surprising is that this was the first time he ever did it in a real, life-or-death situation.

Given all the evidence over the past 40 years about the hundreds of people who have used his method and saved someone’s life, I’m sure Dr. Heimlich didn’t have any nagging doubts about the efficacy of the technique. But even so, I can’t help but think that last week’s incident was a cosmic gift to him: first hand confirmation of the value of his life’s work!  

© 2016 Ingrid Sapona


On being … beyond my realm

By Ingrid Sapona

One night last fall, I took a corner in my parking garage a bit carelessly and I clipped the back edge of my car. Expecting to find a nasty dent, I was relieved when I saw the damage was limited to a smallish patch where the paint had scraped off.

I’m not particularly into cars, so being seen in one that’s got a scrape doesn’t bother me. But, since I plan on keeping the car for quite some time, I don’t want rust. Given the size and location of the damage, I figured it couldn’t cost that much to have it touched up. And, if doing so prevented it from rusting, it’d be worth it.

So, I took it to a few places for estimates. I was in shock when the first guy said it would cost $1400. (Did I mention it was a small scrape?) When I balked at the price, he explained they’d have to sand it and paint the panel, feathering the paint in to the other panel, blah, blah, blah.

The lowest estimate I got came from a shop I know and trust, but they too were expensive: $550. When I explained I really only wanted the area touched up because my concern is rust, not looks, the guy tried to put it in terms he thought I’d understand: “You’d never just colour half your head of hair, would you?” No, but I’d never pay $550 for a salon treatment either!

Unable to justify – or afford – that kind of expenditure, I decided to stop in at the service department at my dealer to see if they sell touch up paint. Sure enough, they do – and it cost about $20. That’s more like it, I thought.

Using the VIN number, the service manager found the colour. Since he didn’t have any in stock, he said he could order it. When I asked how much you get for $20, he pointed to a display that had some containers. They were kind of pen-shaped, which seemed odd to me. I told him I was looking for something that maybe had a small brush, kind of like nail polish. He assured me that one end of the container had that, so I ordered it.

When I finally got the paint, it was too cold to do the repair. So I waited. Finally, with rust beginning to appear, last week I decided it was time to do it. I dug the paint container out of the glove compartment. Examining it, I was surprised that it looked like a two-ended marker. I distinctly remember the assurance about one end having a nail polish-type brush. Instead, both ends had white, felt-tipped markers. I looked for instructions, but there were none. The only markings on the tube were indications that one end was green (the colour of my car) and the other was clear. But, when I uncapped each end, they were both white!

At a loss, I phoned the dealer. When I explained my confusion, he said, “Oh, they changed the packaging – you must have one of the newer ones.” Great, I thought. When I told him there were no instructions, he said to first apply the color and, after it’s dry, then use the other end. Makes sense, I said, but both tips are white! He explained that when I press down on the tip, the paint would come up.

I guess he must have heard the trepidation in my “Oh”, so he went on to explain: “It’s really easy and don’t worry, Ma’am, if you get too much on, just wipe a bit off. The more you do it, the better you get at it.” That last part made me laugh. I told him I’m hoping I won’t have cause to do this too often, but I thanked him for his help.

I was so skeptical about how a marker could possibly work, but it was all I had. So, I started. Sure enough, after a few strokes, the metallic green paint emerged. Not only that, the paint went on very smoothly – far smoother than most nail polish I’ve ever used. Hmm… maybe it would be ok, I thought.

Quickly, my doubt gave way to thoughts of, “Who came up with this? It’s brilliant!” Then I realized who had come up with this odd tool. Folks who ARE into cars. I forget that not everyone sees cars as just a means of transportation, as I do. There are folks who LOVE cars and who love working on them. And, just like cooks who discover clever shortcuts and create gadgets for the kitchen, I imagine car enthusiasts have invented all sorts of clever ways of doing things.

Afterward, I was thinking about my journey from skeptic to convert. In fact, I’ve been on that journey before with respect to my car. It was years ago when I decided to apply a treatment to my windshield to prevent a chip from becoming a crack. The directions seemed odd but it worked beautifully. I couldn’t help wonder whether others have found themselves on the same journey with respect to things that are foreign to them…

My paint adventure has reminded me that in areas that are outside my realm of experience, I should trust that others have “been there and done that”. And, if I’m lucky, they’ll have figured out a fool-proof method that turns skeptics into believers.

© 2016 Ingrid Sapona


On being … a benchmark?

By Ingrid Sapona

This week I was back from vacation, all rested and relaxed and even happy to be home. But, despite all that positive energy, I soon realized I wasn’t quite ready to face the work-world.

The unwelcome jolt came in the form of a slap on the wrist from one of my favourite clients. In response to a specific question from a staff person at the company, I explained how I could help but it would be additional work that would need to be approved by the company. I made it clear that if he felt it appropriate, he could find out if the work might be approved.

Shortly after that I got a terse e-mail from the guy’s boss – someone I know well and have (or had, until this) good rapport with. In the e-mail, the guy’s boss said the additional work won’t be happening and he said I should avoid making such suggestions to staff. OUCH!

I immediately responded with an e-mailed apology and a promise that it would never happen again. As I typed my reply, the voice inside my head went into full self-recrimination mode, starting with: “You can bet it’ll never happen again because they’ll never use you again!” (Whether that’s true or not, only time will tell.)

I re-played the whole thing in my mind, questioning whether I had stepped over the line, or mishandled it. I also surveyed my motives. Had I just proposed work for the sake of earning more? No. Could I have approached it differently? I’m not sure. I wasn’t being sly at all. Nor do I think I painted an unrealistic picture about whether the organization would approve such additional work.

Eventually the internal chiding turned to the issue of whether I’m stupid for letting the e-mail get to me, not to mention the fact that my initial reaction was that of a schoolgirl whose wrists were being slapped. “Grow up,” screamed my inner voice.

That evening I relayed the story to a couple friends, and they tried to cheer me up. I did my best Scarlett O’Hara imitation about tomorrow being another day, but the turmoil swirled in my head all night. The next day, my mood was still quite glum. When another friend asked what was wrong, I said that something work-related was bothering me but that I didn’t want to talk about it because doing so would simply make me feel worse. When I also mentioned that On being… was on the horizon, my friend said I should write about the incident. I quickly dismissed the idea because I was too close to it and embarrassed by it.

After the call, I decided to employ one of my tried and true coping mechanisms: cooking, cleaning, and other tasks that make me feel productive. I tackled a lot of things that needed to be done around the house. But, when I wasn’t super focused on cleaning the floor, or washing the windows, I felt that sense of gloom and doom hovering over me. As the day wore on, the running commentary in my head was more about the fact that I was letting the incident get to me than about the incident itself.

After the housework I returned to my desk and decided to start on a small project that’s not due for a few weeks. After a while I noticed I was making some progress. Since it was pretty interesting, I decided to return to the project after dinner to reduce the chance of letting my thoughts turn back to the e-mail.

The next morning at the gym, I was thinking about the work I had to do the rest of the week and On being… came to mind. I sighed because I’d been so preoccupied for the previous 48 hours, there was no way a column idea could meander through my head. And with that thought, the idea for this column flashed into my brain – a sure sign that I had moved on!

Besides being relieved by the revelation that I was over the e-mail incident, I was also intrigued by the idea of putting a timeframe around how long it had taken me to move on. I had never thought to try to measure my bounce-back speed in concrete terms – I’ve just always gotten angry with myself for taking so long and I’ve wondered if others are much quicker than me.

The 48 hour figure got me thinking. What is it they say about the importance of setting measurable goals? Well, now I have one for bouncing back from work-related setbacks: whittling down that 48 hour benchmark.

Wish me luck!

© 2016 Ingrid Sapona


On being … on an Easter huevo hunt

By Ingrid Sapona

This year I thought I’d try something different: Easter in Mexico. Good thing I didn’t have high hopes of finding many Easter eggs on the beach.

But, the sun and sand have made up for it!

I’ll get back to On being… April 15th.

© 2016 Ingrid Sapona


On being … tracked

By Ingrid Sapona

Have you ever kept a food journal? I have. No, it wasn’t anything like: dear diary, today I had THE best cheeseburger with blue cheese oozing out when I pressed down on the bun. It was far more boring. It involved writing down exactly what, and how much, I ate and the general time of day I ate it. The reason I kept the journal was because a nutritionist I was working with wanted me to.

I hated tracking what I ate. But, I knew it was important in two ways. First, it provided the nutritionist with information so she could track whether what I was eating was allowing for healthy weight loss. Second, and frankly the most important thing, was it kept me honest with myself about what I was eating and how much. (Or, to put it another way for those of you who are more new agey, keeping the journal made me more mindful of what I was eating.)

Keeping a food journal and regularly getting on the nutritionist’s scale were necessary evils that yielded useful information, but not data I’d ever dream of sharing with anyone other than the nutritionist. Indeed, I feel self-conscious writing about it here, but since it relates to the big picture that’s the topic for today’s column, I decided to include it.

Last week I was watching a Saturday morning kids show about innovations. One of the segments was about a device that you clip to your shirt and it buzzes if you slouch. I’ve been trying to pay attention to my posture lately because I’m pretty sure that most of the time (ok, all of the time that I’m not specifically thinking about it) my posture is bad. So, the idea of a little device that reminds me to sit up straight seems brilliant. (The fact that I can choose to unclip it also appeals!) Mind you, though I’ve added it to my Amazon wish list, I’ve not yet committed to trying it.

I’ve also used a pedometer to count the number of steps I’ve gone in a day or, say, on a hike. One of the things I always found interesting when I wore one is that often the number of steps registered didn’t seem to match my perception of how much I had walked. Sometimes I walked less than I thought I had, and sometimes more than I realized. I never really used the pedometer to motivate me to do more, which is certainly a reason many people use them 

Of course, there are lots more sophisticated devices on the market these days that people are turning to to track their level of activity and fitness. Today you can get wearable devices that track your steps, your speed, your heart rate, your blood pressure, and even the oxygen in your blood. And, since the info is collected digitally, apparently you can share the “data” these devices collect with friends and family over the internet.

I’m happy to report that none of my friends have shared any data like that with me. Most of the time I’m only moderately interested in paying attention to such information about myself and, at the risk of sounding rude, I’m really not interested in following others’ stats. If friends want to tell me about goals they’re working toward, I’ll cheer them on, but not minute-by-minute or erg-by-erg.

Apparently, according to a documentary I saw on TV about this, using devices to gather biofeedback and tracking it has become a movement called QS, which stands for Quantified Self. The movement’s motto is “self knowledge through numbers”. QS’ers believe that by tracking different things they’ll come up with personal data patterns that will enable them to transform their lives. They’ll do this – so I understand – by comparing the patterns with their moods to figure out what works best to make them feel good. As one of the folks interviewed put it, they’re looking for a personal formula for happiness.

While there’s lots about the concept of identifying one's formula for happiness that I have trouble with, my first stumbling block would be grading my moods. What categories would I put different levels of happiness into? Maybe one would be: ‘something that puts a smile on my face’; or maybe ‘something that tickles me’; or ‘something that moves me to tears’. But hold on, would something that moves me to tears be on the happy or sad end of the spectrum? See what I mean??

Maybe folks in the QS movement are on to something, I don’t know. But I can’t help wonder what they’re missing as they focus on crunching the data. If their heart rate quickens because a loved one surprises them with something, are they more interested in noting the increased beat than enjoying the moment? I hope not…

As for me, I already have a good idea of lots of things that never fail to increase my happiness… Mint chip ice cream, champagne, a fresh coat of snow glistening in the sun – these are just a few things that are sure bets when it comes to making me happy.

What about you? Have you got a good idea of the elements of your formula for happiness, or do you feel you need to track more data?

© 2016 Ingrid Sapona


On being … thought leadership?

By Ingrid Sapona

Last week I was at dinner at my friend’s (I’ll call her Leanne – yes, the same friend I mentioned a few columns back). We talked about some of the challenges we’ve been encountering in our work. We’re both self-employed plain language writers/consultants. Leanne used a couple phrases – courage being one of them – that don’t often come up in business conversations. Though I didn’t interrupt when she first use the word, I immediately thought about researcher/author/speaker Brené Brown’s work.

As the conversation continued, Leanne mentioned that she’s been inspired by something she’s been reading. At that point, I asked if it was by Brené Brown. She was surprised. I explained that her reference to the notion of courage made me think of Brown. Indeed, Leanne was referring to something by Brown.

Though I’ve not read any of Brown’s work, I have seen her TED talk and I’ve seen a few other videos of her. Brown, a professor, has written a lot about vulnerability, courage, shame, and authenticity. I was quite interested in Leanne’s comments and insights on Brown’s work. Leanne has an analytical mind and I find that she’s very good at digesting information and then figuring out how it may apply in her life and work. 

After a lengthy, interesting discussion about some of Brown’s concepts, Leanne sort of sheepishly added, “a lot of it’s really just common sense”. I think she’s right. But, as I said to Leanne, there’s nothing wrong with common sense and I sure think the world could do with more of it!

One of my clients this week asked me to ghost write an article. We met to discuss the article. They want to pitch the article to the editor of an industry magazine. Their corporate social responsibility group has been working with another industry organization to create public educational information on a topic that’s relevant to their industry. The approach they’ve taken to providing the information is creative and they think it’ll be a way to connect with a segment of the public that their industry hasn’t had success engaging. 

We agreed the article can’t be just about the education campaign or the company’s involvement in creating it. The concern is that could be seen as too self-serving and therefore the editor would be likely to reject the article. They mentioned they want the article to be a “thought leadership piece”.

My initial task was to come up with an outline we could submit to the editor. First I wanted to understand the nature of the underlying information and its relevance to their industry. As they explained, the basic information has been available in traditional formats for a long time. The innovative part, as far as I could tell, is the new way they’re providing the information. So, I put together the article outline.

The first half of the article would feature a discussion of the need for education on this topic. It would also note how much the industry has already done to educate the public. Then we’d explain that the client has worked with another industry organization on this new, creative approach to educating the public. And finally, the article would talk about some of the specific benefits of this new approach. Also, I included a suggested title that highlighted the new creative approach to the public education effort.

The client’s response to my outline was not what I hoped. They said we needed to adjust the focus because the article can’t be mainly about their new approach. They reiterated the concern that saying too much about the new approach might be deemed too self-promoting. Instead, they felt it should mainly be about the need to engage the public on the topic and about the industry’s general interest in educating the public. 

I pointed out that from the editor’s point-of-view, what’s newsworthy is the new approach. They again said they’re looking for an article that will “demonstrate thought leadership”. After admitting I’m not 100% sure what that phrase means to them, I argued that the fact that the underlying topic is relevant to the industry is well known and that to focus on that doesn’t demonstrate leadership – or even particularly new thought. After going around in circles on the question of what thought leadership entails, I gave up and simply promised a revised outline. I’ve sent it off and hopefully they’ll like it better, though I don’t think it’ll be as interesting an article.

I don’t know the origins of the idea of “thought leadership”, but I’ve worked on enough thought leadership articles to know it’s all the rage. As a plain language person, I’m always put off by such corporate speak. Compounding my ire is the fact that there’s often little new or particularly original ideas in such pieces. It’s usually just a grandiose label business people use when they simply want to provide information in their particular field.

So how do these two stories relate? Well, I couldn’t help thinking about the discussion Leanne and I had about Brené Brown’s work and whether it might be an example of thought leadership. Though Leanne and I concluded our discussion about Brown’s ideas by agreeing there’s a common sense core, Brown’s analysis definitely provided a different way of looking at – and thinking about – some fundamental human behaviour.

So yes, maybe there is something to thought leadership… But please, just as not every person is a leader, let’s be honest: not every business article deserves the thought leadership label.

© 2016 Ingrid Sapona