9/25/13-"Get 'chyour ehxtra credit heeya, folks!"

This school day was relatively uneventful.  We discussed Plato in Politics and Lit.  Somehow N. ended up in my discussion circle despite the fact that we already had seven and he was supposed to go somewhere else.  No one said anything about it, though. 

We were supposed to talk about how Plato's ideas are relevant to modern democracy.

"It's like salted caramel," N. contributed.  "Someone invented it, and then it's slowly improved upon over time."

"Now I'm hungry," complained one of the two M.'s in the group.

"I've been hungry all morning," N. countered with a half-grin.

"Next class," suggested a boy named A., "we should bring a big block of caramel and a big block of salt."

Later in the period, while Mr. H. called on members of every group, the point was raised that Plato's political philosophy seemed to be a sampling from several different ideologies.

"Yes!" Mr. H. exclaimed.  "It is! Now, how many of you have been to Hometown Buffet?  You can probably tell that Mr. H. has been," he remarked, indicating his belly.  "Would Plato go straight to the barbecued chicken and--" he began to laugh maniacally while imitating the act of shoveling food onto a plate. "No.  He might take a little bit of the chicken, but also a bit of the potatoes, and maybe even some salad.  That's what he's done philosophy-wise.  'A bit of communism here...and a little aristocracy...oh, and let's throw in a philosopher-king for a taste of monarchy...' You get the point."

After this, we took notes on Plato's student, Aristotle, who came from Macedonia, which was in those days, Mr. H. informed us, "the hillbilly-country of Ancient Greece, where you might have found the B.C. equivalent of Duck Dynasty."

Aristotle eventually became the tutor of young Alexander the Great, who would affectionately refer to his teacher as "Aristotle the Babbler."

"Now, you might think I'm H. the babbler," said Mr. H.  "But..."

After class, we all marched out of the room and into the chilly outdoors.

"Why's it so cold?" N. complained.  "It's gross!"

In Advisory, Mrs. S. and I concluded that Econ is a weird subject that makes no sense.  And I did some math homework.  That was essentially the extent of it.

In Calculus, we learned more about limits. 

At lunch...I don't remember lunch.  The consequence of trying to write a diary entry several days after the fact.  I do remember that I ate soup, though.  Tomato-basil-quinoa, in a reused sour cream container.  I also had carrots.  And either an apple or a banana.  The latter, I think, but I'm not sure. 

Fascinating, I know.

In Fiber Arts, we finally started actually sewing.  We made patches from flannel that will one day go to make a giant quilt.  Mine turned out pretty well, although I did have to take out one seam because I sewed my square in the wrong direction.

After school, I was on-duty for tutoring.  I went over some geometry tests with people and created an email list of student tutors for Mrs. A.

It was raining when I left.  I caught the bus and went home, but my day was far from done.  It was, you see, Open House at the high school, and Mrs. A. had asked me to hand out flyers and extra-credit slips for the STC on the Quad.

Open House, for those who don't know, is the night where parents can come and meet all their child(ren)'s teachers, attending each class for ten minutes.  Parents can also ask a student tutor for a card, which, if their child brings to the STC and gets signed, can earn extra credit in most math classes.

The evening commenced at six, at which point I entered Mrs. A.'s room.  Since I had twenty minutes to kill before I had to be on the Quad, we chatted for a while.  Somehow we got on the topic of choir and Disneyland.  Mrs. A.'s hoping that we'll need chaperones, so she might come too.

At ten after, another tutor, a junior named C., showed up, and we were just getting ready to go down to the quad when our third and final member of the Open House crew, E., materialized, just out of cross country practice.  She had forgotten a coat, so Mrs. A. lent her one.  Then we three tutors collected our flyers and went down onto the Quad.




There were other students there too, but their mission was to assist lost parents in finding the way to each classroom.  We all slowly gravitated to the place on the Quad that would be most advantageous to our particular goals.  E. and I found ourselves on the Lower Quad beneath the redwood tree, where parents were funneled conveniently right past us.  Since we are both quiet and a bit socially awkward, we found advertising a bit difficult.  Anyway, try saying, "Would you like an extra credit slip for the Student Tutor Center?" five times fast while chasing after a parent in a hurry.

During the ten minute "class periods", when there were few parents to approach, E. and I tried various strategies of staying warm.  We huddled together.  We hopped around.  We danced the Can Can.  I tried to dance the Charleston.

And then to it again.

"Is it extra work?" one man asked me after I inquired if he would like an extra credit slip.

"Uhhhm, no, not really," I replied.

Sometimes I don't understand people.

It got darker and colder.  E. told me that she was going to make Mrs. A. a batch of cookies out of her gratitude for the jacket.

We sat on the wall beneath the redwood.

The night darkened further.  E. checked the time on her phone.  I lost track of which class period was occurring at what time.

At some point, I caught sight of a familiar figure exiting (surprise, surprise) the theatre building. 

"I see a N.," I told E.

"I see one too.  You should run up to him...and profess your undying love for him."


"I'm just kidding."

"I know."

I waved at him, hailing him with my stack of STC extra credit forms, and he crossed the Quad to join us.

"So you two are handing out the student tutor things this year. May I have one?"

I handed him one.

"Does your sister need one too?" E. asked.

"Yes, she would probably want one."

I handed him a second one.  "So what are you doing here at this late hour?"

"I have to drive my mom home.  Since I'm the only one in the family with a license, whenever anyone has to go somewhere, well..." He smiled wryly.  "Which reminds me," he continued, taking out his phone and popping out the keyboard.  "'Where...are...you?'...Send to...that one."

"That's exactly how I text!" E. observed.  "Except...I'm slower."

He pocketed it.  "So.  How's business?"

"Ehh.  We're not very good at it."

"You need a carny," he said.  "'Get 'chyour ehxtra credit heeya, folks!'"

"You could be our carny," I suggested.

He wrinkled his nose.  "I'm not a good carny."

Not a good carny, my foot.

Yet, come next passing period, when the parents began to stream by us again, he very helpfully shouldered the responsibility for attracting their attention to us, resulting in a significant increase in the amount of forms distributed.  His method was much the same as the one E. and I had been attempting (asking each person as they passed) but he was somehow more effective than we were.  Probably because he was louder and more confident.

Near the end of the five-minute passing period, he caught the eye of a potential customer, opened his mouth to deliver his pitch, then closed it again and got out of the way.  "He looked a bit angry and stressed," N. explained once the man had strode past.  "I don't approach people like that."

During the next ten minute lull, we huddled under the redwood.  N. wandered out of its shelter at one point and returned quickly.

"It's waining."

The school nurse, who happens to be the mother of K.-the-soprano, walked by and struck up a conversation with us, during which N. joked that he planned to have a headache sometime next week and would be in to see her.  The nurse was of the opinion that headaches were caused by the schools awful, harsh lighting, and I added that it didn't help that the whole science building always smells of whatever chemistry experiment is underway.

"I remember being in physics, and it smelled like butyric acid for like, three weeks."

N. made a face.  "Butyric acid is the worst.  It's essence of vomit."

"Or really old cheese," contributed E.  "Once, when I was in Chemistry, the student teacher forgot to turn on the fume hood when he was making it, and it smelled horrible."

It got colder and darker.  We handed out some more flyers and forms.

After what turned out to be sixth period, N. finally managed to get a hold of his mother and left.  E. and I reunited with C., and we had a pleasant conversation with the school janitor.

When open house was over, my parents and I went to a local Mexican restaurant and had burritos.  It was after nine by the time we got home.

The End

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