I went to Henry's back-to-school night and skipped Spanish and Religion classes. I sat in the courtyard in the dark and ate a cupcake, licked the icing off and drank a plastic cup of water and watched the people go by. Occasionally, a woman would walk by with spiked heels, skinny jeans, a face that was held up by invisible plastic strings, lips bigger than my fanny, and that was fascinating. There's a scattering of B-list or has-been actor parents at the school, so I had my eyes peeled. Last year I caught sight of the A-list Diane Keaton, and she looked exactly like you think Diane Keaton looks. I only saw a couple of the B-list men. You would recognize them, but they're really old, and they have second or third or fourth -- even eighth -- wives and young kids. I'm not naming names. I never skipped a class as a teenager nor did I in college, that I remember. I thought it was about time. High school classes make me feel very old and very weary. I felt a slight ping of interest when the English teacher talked about the poetry the kids would be reading, but then when she started talking about five paragraph papers, my mind wandered. The AP history teacher was a doll, but honestly? It sounded like a lot of teaching to the test. My mind wandered. I remembered taking the same class in tenth grade, taught by this guy who sat at the desk and read the paper the whole time while the bad kids shot spitballs, the girls wrote notes to each other and the really smart ones did their work. I was always the smartest of the dumb people and the dumbest of the smart people, so I probably opened a couple folded notes and then guiltily read about the Renaissance in my book. That teacher -- bless his heart -- didn't teach us a damn thing, but we all took the test and probably did just fine. These days, I don't know. So much pressure, so much manufactured outrage about education and who's learning what and where and how. My mind wanders. The honors chemistry teacher had a great Australian accent, was warm and funny, but chemistry? Honors chemistry? My mind wandered. God bless my son in that class. My own chemistry teacher in high school was a very angry man who shouted a lot at the spoiled white kids in the class, and my main memory is seeing many of those kids crying at their desks when they got their first Cs on a test. As the dumbest of the smart kids, I think I was relieved that I just hadn't failed. The geometry teacher was adorable, and I wanted to tell her how good I was in geometry despite being terrible in every other kind of math, that I hoped the same for my son who appears to have taken after me, but I thought better of it, knew that if I opened my mouth I would become that weird, too-earnest kind of parent. Do ya'll still do proofs? I wanted to ask. I loved doing proofs. For a moment, I felt strangely like my striving younger self, the girl who wanted to be liked, and it isn't a good feeling to have, randomly, at age 51. After that was when I decided to skip Spanish and Religion. So, yeah. Tired and weary. Oh, and grateful that I'm done with high school and college and can learn whatever the hell I want at this point. Or not.
Don't tell my son about this post.