Sunday, September 24, 2006

My Old School

School's been a big presence in my life this fall even though my oldest is still two years away from kindergarten. First, I'm taking a class at the community college, my first foray back into academia since I graduated from college 16 years ago. Some may argue that a BA in graphic design hardly counts as academic work and they might have a point there, but to them I say: "I almost minored in math!"
It's been slow going. The first week I didn't have the text book and when I found my way to the campus book store during break I realized I'd left my credit card in my car. The next week I had to wait in line with students half my age who were paying more for their books than I'd paid to take a three-credit course. After purchasing my book and my "school supplies" which consisted of regulation lined paper and a three-ring binder, I walked back across the small campus to my classroom. I passed groups of students hanging around smoking, talking on cell phones, and just generally congregating. I felt completely out of place and irrationally uncomfortable, like everyone was staring at me in a "who's the unprepared old chick?" kind of way.
Then I remembered. Except for the old part, I felt the same way 20 years ago when I went to college the first time.
If you remember walking alone across campus and feeling self conscious, how about trying to climb those ropes in middle school in your gym shorts? Makes me sweat just thinking about it. My four-year-old is playing in the recreation department's munchkin soccer program. It's week two. He's on the cheetah team, which sounds a little too much like "cheater" for my liking. Why couldn't he a tiger or a lion? This week, though, we found out what's worse than being a cheetah, being on the team with the pink uniforms. We heard that two kids cried and had to defect to other, more masculine-colored teams. The cheetah's have red uniforms. Somehow my son choose a shirt that hangs down below his knees, but that doesn't bother him in the least, of course neither would pink uniforms.
Anyway, now that it's the second week, we parents are starting to get things figured out. We can spend less time keeping an eye on our kids and more time sizing up the other parents. I've come to the conclusion that except for the lame name, the cheetah's rock! We've got my former gym coach's kid on the team, and the sports editor's kid as well. Our neighbor's daughter Lauren is on the team and got partnered up with my son through all the drills. Lauren's cousin is one of the coaches so we know they're getting lots of good instruction.
It's like being picked for the cool team at recess. I can't wait for the first game!

song: My Old School • artist: Steely Dan

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