Mikey, my best friend’s youngest son, came storming through the front door, dropping his school bag with an angry thud on the hallway floor and declared in a very loud voice, “I’m never going back to school again—school sucks!” And with that announcement, he ran upstairs to his bedroom and slammed the door.
“Oops,” Kathie said in the experienced voice of a mom with five sons. “I think there was another crisis at school today.” And she gave me a wry grin.
“Remember how we felt about math and physics?” Kathie sighed.
“How could I forget?” I grinned. “I always felt, what’s the point of calculating how long it would take a pool to empty if 50 gallons a minute was pumped in and 30 gallons a minute leaked out? I had no ambitions to work as a pool girl.”
“It’s liters in Canada now, not gallons,” Kathie automatically corrected me as we both laughed.
“Remember all that stuff we had to memorized and write about? I spent an eternity doing a project on Rhodesia, but now that country is called Zimbabwe.”
“My paper was on Ceylon, known for its tea plantations and colourful stamps. Now it’s called Sri Lanka.”
“I got some cute little tee-shirts for Deena the other day and noticed it was manufactured in Myanmar. Where the heck is that, I wondered? Well, for goodness sakes, it use to be Burma. When did that change?” I asked.
“See, that’s the point I’m trying to make. We spend 12 years in school and half the stuff we will never use in our lifetime. All that geography we memorized, well, it isn’t pertinent now with wars being fought and borders being changed and new names, for gosh sakes!”
Kathie and I automatically reached for another piece of Triple Fudge Brownie. Silently savouring the rich, dark chocolate flavour, we looked at each other and smiled.
“Well, I’ll take Mikey his glass of milk and a piece of this brownie and see what the crisis is at school today.” Excusing herself, she went to check on her 7 year old son.
As I was debating the merits of whether or not to have another teeny piece of brownie, if I worked longer on the elliptical, Kathie was back, looking dutifully serious. Then her face changed from “serious Mom mode” to her usual cheerful self.
“Will Mikey return to school tomorrow?” I asked.
“It’s a girl,” Kathie said grinning. “Little Suzie, down the street, has a crush on my son. And I had to tell him that when he’s older, he will look at girls differently. However, right now he thinks reading is boring and girls are icky.”
We looked at each other, muffling our laughter. Countries and borders can change, but little boys still remain the same. And, so do little girls.