Friday, March 03, 2006

Two Posts in One

So I fought with Blogger for hours to post this. And now successful, I have to wonder if what follows was actually worthy of the effort :

So I peeled a hard-boiled egg, buttered some toast, and boiled water to add to my coffee. I always cut my coffee in half with hot water, sometimes even adding more hot water as I drink it. Yes, I understand that’s more like drinking dishwater. That’s the way I like it.

I ate the toast, then the egg and reached for my coffee. It wasn’t there. I got up to look by the stove, but it wasn’t there either. Or on the island. Or buy the coffee machine. There were several cups sitting out, but none of them held fresh coffee. I paused. I could SMELL it, why couldn’t I see it? I retraced my steps. No coffee. Did I actually make it? Yes, yes I did. I could remember pouring the hot water.

I finally found it behind a pot. Today is house cleaning day.



* * *
Yesterday was Thursday, my day to volunteer at Run and Read. During the run, I was a human pylon. One kid kept grabbing my hand and smelling it whenever he passed. I never figured out why.

For the Read, I was told to help out with the Grade 3's since it was a big group. I hesitated because, well, I know all the Grade 4's names. And these aren't Brittany's or Jason's, these are Tanvir's and Naima’s and I'm stoopid. It takes me ages to get names. But along I went to the Library with the Grade 3's, where the rather frustrated head volunteer assigned me to Keesha, a little black girl with cornrows and big eyes.
“I love that kid,” said Keesha’s teacher, shaking her head, “but she’s a handful.”
"I don't want to write my word of the day," was the first thing Keesha said to me.
"But it's an easy one today. 'Patience'. You must have loads of examples."
"No. I'm never patient."
"Really?"
"Really,” she said emphatically.
"There must have been once when you had to wait a really long time...?" I ask.
She launched into a convoluted story almost completely devoid of nouns. Something about 'purple' and 'waiting in line'.
“See?” I leapt on the ‘waiting’ part, “you had to be patient. Write that down!”
“But I wasn’t patient. I’m probably going to be expelled for what I did. Or at least suspended.”
“Really?”
“Yes.”
“Okay, well how about your hair? That must have taken forever.”
“It did.”
“So, you must have been patient for that.”
“No I wasn’t. I kept getting up and making my sister really mad,” She kicked at the table and threw down the paper, “I don’t understand ‘patient’”
“Well, it’s what I’m being right now. Get to work, Keesha. Then we can get to the reading.”
“I hate reading. I like math.”
“Then it’s unfortunate you chose to be in ‘Run and Read’.”
“What?”
“Never mind. WRITE.”
“I hate this.”
“Come on, get it done.”
“But I’m NOT patient. Ever. I’m lazy and I make trouble and there is no hope for me.”
“Are you serious?” She stared at me. Totally serious. “Well if you keep saying it, and then not trying, you’re definitely making it come true. Why not try and prove yourself wrong?”
“There’s no hope.”
“There’s always hope. I have great faith in you. You have potential.”
“No I don’t.”
“Yes you do.”
“No I don’t.”
“WRITE!” I almost swore, too. But this time she did write something down. It said, I was patient when I waited for the purple and it came down. I blinked. It made absolutely no sense. “Good job!” I said, “let’s read!” I handed her the book the head volunteer had picked for her, a 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' book.
“I hate this book.”
“Have you read it?”
“No.”
“It could be good.”
“I never saw it on TV.”
“Why does that matter?”
“I don’t read anything that’s not on TV.”
Oh, for the love of God, kid. “Come on, read me the story. I want to know what it’s about.”
She read for a bit. She was a good enough reader. She came across a word she couldn't read. “I don’t read adult words.”
“Sure you do. You read really well. Sound it out.”
She did. She was close. “See? You did it.”
“I want to read Laura Ingalls," she dropped the Clifford book on the floor.
“I don’t see it in here,” I rifled through the Grade 3 box.
The head volunteer came to our table, “Keesha! Enough of this! READ!” She had a teacher voice. Even I felt like I was in trouble. But it was time to pack up anyway. I guess I'll never get to know what happened to Clifford and the ice cream problem. We walked back to the gym, Keesha with her arms wrapped tightly around my waist.

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5 comments:

Blogger palinode ~ 8:19 AM

Geez, get a job already.  


Blogger Working From Home Today ~ 8:36 AM

Why would I? Unemployment is very glamorous. I highly recommend it.  


Blogger schmutzie ~ 11:42 AM

When I was in grade seven, we were partnered with kids in grade two, and we wrote them stories and gave them little presents at Christmas. Mine was one tough cookie. She didn't like my story because it was too girly, and she didn't like my Christmas present because it wasn't functional enough. She was a no-nonsense utilitarian at the age of seven.  


Blogger Working From Home Today ~ 11:51 AM

I just don't get it. What kind of teenagers are these jaded little kids going to be? And am I supposed to do something about it? I mean, beyond listening to them read Clifford books, of course....  


Blogger Naomi ~ 1:29 PM

They're going to be the kind of teenagers I teach... no, it's not that bad. Are there many Keeshas?

I think what you said to Keesha was great. It's going to need a lot of reinforcement, though - hopefully she gets that from her regular teacher if not at home.

My grandma is also helping little kids read at a school near her. You two are so sweet.  


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