So, I've been thinking about encounters.
Yesterday, I went into the office to get an assignment that we'd been given in class some time ago. We actually began it in class. Someone was talking about it, and I thought, "Oh, yeah, and then went through my pending assignments and realized that I no longer had it. I was embarrassed to go in to the office and confess that I'd lost it. Understandable really. I've got a dozen assignments all assigned weeks ago, with different due dates. We cannot turn things in early, so there's always that possibility that something is going to be lost in the shuffle. Especially when you are me. I confessed to the teacher, and she cheerfully went into her file and printed out a replacement. I apologized for the inconvenience and turned to leave. She said, "Oh, don't worry about it. You're right on top of things. I can tell." That surprised me. I wondered about that. She sure sees me differently than I see me.
I got a letter from Cara the other day. She said that she wished that I could see myself as she sees me. She goes on to list the things that she remembers about her childhood. The fact that I worked more than one job, but still stayed up late with her to read "Ramona Quimby". (If you have a little girl and have never read them, do! They are such fun!) Little things, but they meant a lot to me. I will keep that letter forever. I am very glad that Cara sees me differently than I see myself.
Today in Anatomy and Physiology class, Butthead Boy began going on loudly like he does, but this time, his story winds up being about some television program, "where these young 'hot' girls are stuck with this old guy and they are looking for young guys to f*** them," and although it wasn't my business, he's just so ignorant that I burst out with, "That's completely inappropriate for a classroom." I stared at him, and he stopped, shocked. "I'm sorry," he mumbled. But then he seemed to think better of it. "If she complains about me again, I'm out of the class. You all are my witnesses. This did not happen in class. It happened before class" And he stormed back to his seat, passing me and saying loudly, "Some people need to grow up!" and I looked at him and mildly said, "Yes indeed they do." I'm sure not the prudish old woman he seems to think that I am.
I went to the local library after class. I had to find a children's book for an activity at the Head Start tomorrow. The letter is 'G' so I was looking for a book about a gardener. I was supposed to be doing a gross motor activity with them during circle time, an indoor activity. So we will read our story and then we will be gardeners. We will pantomine digging with a shovel, hoing, planting. There will be the sun and rain, with the appropriate hand motions. Then we will become the seed, and pantomine growing from the ground. Then we will pick our tomatoes, and our corn and we will dig our potatoes. Lots of motions but nothing dangerous or too wild for the classroom setting. Anyway, it took me a long time to find a picture book about growing and/or gardens. I tried to find a topic using the computers, but failed. I asked a mother there with her young son if she had any suggestions. An elderly lady, a former librarian, was there reading with her grandchildren. She pitched in. Then the librarian for the children's room came back, and there were four of us at work on this. Soon I had a good half dozen books to take home and decide on. Everyone was so nice, and I thanked them and headed toward the circulation desk to check them out.
The nice woman there was halfway through my books when she looked up and said, almost shyly, "I love your articles." Surprised, I said, "Gee. Thanks," and she said, "All of us here read you." Always awkward when complimented, I dumbed around. She said, "You write like you love to do it." Finally, I got my tongue back. "Yes," I said. "I do love it, and I'll never cease to be amazed when someone tells me that they love to read what I love to write." I paused. "You know, men like to read along too. I'm just now discovering that." She laughed. "Before I moved back here, I became acquainted with your writing. My uncle was always cutting out your column and mailing it to me, and telling me that you sounded just like me.
I've been thinking on things. What am I? Who am I? I don't see myself like everyone else seems to see me. I find myself wondering on the way home if I fall square in the middle of all of that? What if I'm better than I think I am, but not as bad as some might paint me? What if it turns out that I might not be as great as some people think, but I'm not as bad as I think? I don't know, but it sure is nice to think that it might be true.