Monday, June 15, 2009

First day of 12 units of classes

[The following was written on this stuff called PAPER, using an instrument called a PENCIL. I'm only now, Friday evening, getting this all recorded into the blog, but I will be cheating by backdating the publishing.]

Calculus is at 8:00 am, which means getting up at 6 o'something. I went for 6:15 this morning, but I think if I had everything ready to go the night before--I could push it back to 6:45 am. (Update: I can, but it really makes things tight, especially if I'm dropping the kids off at their grandmother's house on the way.)

One problem with Chris and I getting up that early is that it triggers Milo's early-rising instinct--one that has been nearly extinguished in Max, now that he's spending all his free time growing taller.

So Chris is wandering around looking through baskets of clean clothes for a matching pair of socks and waiting for the right time to pounce and ask me to make his lunch for him (because, I don't know, learned helpless or something--I must have growled at him on this particular morning though, because he hasn't done so since) and I'm trying to find a bag big enough to carry spare shoes for the office, my lunch, two math textbooks, and various other paraphanalia I think I'll need before I get home again. All the while, Milo wanders anxiously around wondering how much longer Max will sleep so he can ask for permission to use the computer.

It works. I crack--"tell Max I gave you permission to use the computer." Somehow, rooms away, this wakes Ben and he and Milo trot happily off to play computer games. They probably won't stop until well after lunch time when hunger will finally drive them off to scavenge for food. It's all good. The microwave is at their level.

Chris and I leave at the sametime -- he heads off to work and I hit the gas station for a diet mountain Dew first. Then I let myself into the law office, careful to resent the alarms on my way out -- to drop off work shoes and lunch. From there I walk the 5 blocks or so to the math building on campus. I'm 10 minutes early, but the room is already half full.

The instructor is a young math Ph'd candidate with a mild accent. I think he said he was from Morocco, but I wasn't taking notes at this point. His handwriting is very easy to read, but it's definitely not the product of an American education.

He goes over the syllabus and then lectures happily for 45 minutes on the hustory of Calculus, giving only the briefest of attention to anything in the book. The most meaningful thing I learn is that there are quizzes every Friday, homework is assigned nightly, but collected twice a week, and we're skipping Chapter 1. I wonder, skeptically, if I have the time to do Chapter 1 on my own.

And then class is over--almost 20 minutes early. My next class is on the other side of the building on the same floor, so I wander over there, get comfortable and balance my checkbook. Then I sent Chris two texts. Finally someone else arrives--goes into the class, and sits. So I do, too. He's plugged into an iPod. We don't say anything.

Not a minute later two other boys enter. These guys are friendly. One is Will. Will is impossibly tall and skinny. He's amused by my name. The room fills. It's a much smaller classroom than the Calculus classroom.

The instructor arrives. He's shy and reluctant to begin. He went to Bucknell. He's from Scranton. He's beyond easy to understand, even when he talks to the board. Which he does fairly frequently. He digs right into the first lesson and I stop "blogging" and start taking notes.

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