Monday, June 20, 2005
This June morning was perfect, in that delicious, summery, Southern California way. I had dug myself deep into the blankets and listened to the birds outside our window, watched the clock shifting, minute by minute, as it approached 6:30 a.m. when I'd have to join D in the urging of J up from bed to get to his class by 7:30.
I felt kind of bad about the necessary prodding because waking him up for school did feel wrong – the sky so blue, the sun so bright, the snails easing across the dry concrete paths in front of the house, the community pool's water around the corner lapping against the brand-new tiles, the grass so green and waiting to be used as support for dreamy contemplation, the bikes and skateboards itching to be let out of the garage. The alarm went off and I heard J’s voice sharp and nasty at D’s urges.
Moments later, J was at the computer checking for messages from all his billion friends and saying to me, “Only idiots go to summer school.”
“Well, if you hadn’t failed core classes, as we said would happen by not turning in work, you’d not have to be in summer school.”
I know, I know…I shouldn’t say, “I told you so.” But I did. With my arms crossed across my chest and my mouth in a tight, crisp seal, my eyes firmly on the longish locks he’s begun to sport, as he reposted a bulletin online that said, “If you don’t send this to all your friends, your mother will have a terrible accident! Save her!”
I suspect he was throwing away the bulletin. Breaking the chain.
“It’s either college or remedial classes at junior-high,” I said. “Your choice.”
“Fine! College! You’re ruining my summer!”
“I didn’t ruin your summer. You did.”
The child didn’t stop complaining until I left him in class at the college with a teacher who was trying to negotiate with fifteen really pissed-off middle-school kids for them to be good in her study-skills course. I couldn’t help but chuckle. The faces on these poor babies! They were all mad, all so deprived (except for the one kid still wearing his back pack who had a smile plastered on his face). What’s worse is that the rooms have no windows…although I suppose it’s good because this way they cannot see what they’re missing. Right outside is the agricultural section of the campus with horses and green grass, and further on up path-covered hills can be seen.
I left thinking the whole thing was a lost cause – the kid would probably run away rather than attend.
D picked him up at 11:50 at which point he learned that J’s second class, the movie-making class (a cool blend of English and creative arts), was changed to “acting class.” Ha! A brush of unbelievable good luck! No way will J’s parents require him to stick out an acting class because he’s already a pro at drama! Hee! Ho!
Sure enough, when D found out the switcheroo, he marched to the registration office and got our 160 bucks back. From there, J and D went to lunch, ultimately ending up at his last drum lesson for the school year. J’s uncle gave him music books with which to practice. The homework? Practice drum beats created by Rush and Yes. J beamed. D was impressed. The next five weeks will consist of a cake-walk study-skills class from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. followed up with rock and roll drumming the rest of the day, interrupted with chatting online and skateboarding and bike riding and swimming, etc. etc.
Life certainly has changed. Perhaps waking in the morning won’t be so painful for J. Next stop is A’s summer school which starts on Wednesday. M will be attending her pre-school once every so often simply to break up her summer. Being 4 isn’t as much fun as being 8 or almost-12. The independence just isn’t there.
Me? My summer? I started reading an interesting book called, “The Historian.” I have plans to clean out my garage, paint the inside of the house, prepare to teach Civil Procedure in the fall, revamp the assignment for my legal analysis class, read, write, sleep, take that road trip with the family.
Off we go.