Ava is now officially a home school kid. It started last week. I am not the teacher, I’m at work when it all goes down, but I am still getting a lot of flashbacks to the days when I was a home schooler.
The home schooling spirit has matured since the days when only people with deep religious convictions or uber granola coursing through their veins, took their kids out of the school system to go it alone. There are now tons of groups to join, group activities to participate in, and friends to get advice from.
For me, I was never alone, there was a sibling to hang out with. One year it was Peter, the next year, it was Veronica. They each lasted a single year. I probably would have done more years if they hadn’t left. My mom realized that, with siblings, I needed to have friends. I did have a few friends. I had a neighbor, a kid from the swimming club, a kid from church and a kid I knew from public school. That was four. So my mom set me up with some kind of a homeschooling playdate. I actually was not asking for more friends, she just used her mom’s intuition.
The playdate took place in Carmel Valley. The boy I was to meet was my age and an only child. His location in Carmel Valley was deep in rural Carmel Valley. I don’t know what Carmel Valley is like now. Perhaps there are shopping malls, movie theaters, bodegas and a light rail system. Back then, there was a lonely two lane road that wound idealically through hills of trees and wild grasses and not much else.
The boy I met, lived in a very wooden house, dark wood. There was a dog or two and it was dark and cold. I remember being cold the whole time.
We started out, this boy and I, working on our home schooling workbooks. My hands were cold and it was hard to concentrate. Not because my hands had cramped up, which they had, like they do when you surf in cold water, but because my new friend was a non stop talker.
I have a problem when it comes to people that do not stop talking, pointlessly uttering words in sentences, phrases, comments and quips. Especially when it is meaningless. I hate too many questions. I like to have gaps of silence in conversations. Periods at the end of sentences. Perhaps a comma somewhere in there. A moment where we non verbally think about all that had said. I was having a problem with this kid, The Talker.
The Talker, being an only child in the middle of no where with parents that gave him a lot of space, really was excited to see me. I felt the need oozing from his skin the minute we met. We were both probably fourteen. We were both late bloomers. We both liked to explore the wilderness for hours. However, one of us did not know the serene sensibility that accompanies the cessation of chattering.
I remember getting hammered by questions and comments that might have been meant to be jokes, like waves hitting one after another after you have fallen off a surfboard and are scrambling to the surface for air. At some point, I stopped reponding.
Once I started hearing the outside world again, I heard, “Earth to Casson, earth to Casson…” The Talker was repeating it over and over and my mom was sitting at the table with us chuckling. Boy did she love that saying. She has been using it ever since.
Needless to say, I never saw The Talker again.