I always liked learning things as a kid. That did not equate to a love of school. I just couldn’t see the point, and rational argument about future job prospects is a non-starter when you’re six or even thirteen.
What I did like was the autumn—the first, wine-sharp tang of fall has always made me come alive. I treasured the fire of turning leaves, jack frost silvering the chain link fence (yes, your tongue does stick if you lick it) and the acrid smell of bonfires. It was time for the ubiquitous grandma-knitted woollies and lunchtimes of tomato soup.
Of course, back-to-school itself had compensations, like new clothes, fresh school supplies, and the contact high from other people who actually were excited. That was usually good for the first week. Then reality began to set in:
Day 1. New stuff. Goody!
Day 2. Show of end-of-summer despondency in hopes of more new stuff
Day 3. Updating gym avoidance protocol
Day 4. Phoning the drugstore 3,000 times to see if latest teen mag has been delivered because life, the universe, and school cannot progress without authorized fashion instruction
Day 5. Complaining to friend whose mother doesn’t care about said fashion authority, either. This phone call good for two hours.
Day 6. Official boy watch begins. <em>Wow</em>. In post-surveillance free time, begin <em>Lord of the Rings </em>for the third time, dreaming of Aragorn
Day 7. Boy watch continues. Surely The Boy (<em>le sigh</em>) is Aragorn-in-waiting—tall, dark, silent.
Day 8. Scientific field excursion aka welcome back school dance proves all too conclusively The Boy dances like an orc, or at least a troll. Enemy agent in disguise?
Day 9. Boy watch is definitely over. What was I thinking? Crushing on teacher because, y’know, he’s like <em>scholarly</em> and <em>mature</em>.
Day 10. Dress code? Whaddya mean dress code? Public education is a social experiment gone seriously wrong.
Day 11. First math test. Teacher <em>must</em> be Saruman in disguise. I squander my affections on the unworthy.
Day 12. My soul is made of darkness eternal, and yet we must read <em>Rascal</em>. Mock me if you will, my gloom is impenetrable.
Day 13. Gym is cancelled! Yay!