After six diplomas over the course of my adult life, I am finally back, yet again, this time to get a degree in Creative Writing. It will literally take until I retire – seven to nine years from now – to finish. I am doing this part time while working full time as a trainer and technical writer (if you want the creativity sucked right out of you, just concentrate on some technical writing), trying to finish my manuscript, submit short stories for publication, be responsible for a mother in a care facility with severe Alzheimer’s, and try to maintain a relationship with my partner Mack. What order in which these starring roles are my in life varies from day to day.
My first class went well. The Prof was easy to understand and had some inventive styles of teaching Philosophy, relating the text to current day examples. I’m the oldest by 25 or 30 years. I could be their grandmother – albeit a hillbilly grandmother as I and my daughter (or daughter-in-law) would have had to be 15 years old when we bore a child.
With this age difference, there are many adult traits I have acquired since being 18 or 19 years old. Namely, I show up on time for class, ready to listen and work. So that’s why I spent several days beforehand studying the readings that were posted online.
Everyone else showed up with an empty binder (I printed out the notes online to read several times). One woman came in, found a seat, and slammed her head down on the desk until the Prof arrived. No one spoke to each other. Three others were late by a half an hour and about eight people didn’t even show up.
In my over-zealousness I ended up buying the wrong text book – due to being old and over-prepared – but it appears that I have until the end of the month to return it.
The Prof – he told us he is old enough to remember all three times the Canucks made it to the Stanley cup, which means he was likely eight years old in 1982 – asked us to introduce ourselves and tell the class what program we’re in, why we chose Philosophy, and one thing about ourselves.
Most kids had no trouble saying that they were in the Criminology program and were taking Philosophy because it was the last course available. But when it came to divulging something about themselves, most sat in silence. Eventually, they eked out an “I swim or “I have an older sister”. One young girl (I do say girl because I think she’s likely menstruating, but I can’t be sure) who was very slim said, “Food. I like food.” I looked around the room smiling, trying to catch someone’s eye and forgot there weren’t any other adults in the classroom.
The Prof, obviously used to young people, replied, “Oh that’s nice, what kind of food do you like?”
The young woman proudly said, “Sushi,” which, of course, is a real stretch here in Vancouver.
I, however, waxed poetic about myself, giving several tidbits such as wanting to take this course because it was as different from my job that I could think of, and that I host a reading series and if anyone wanted to read, feel free to come and see me (no takers so far).
I did chat with a few of them and they’re really, well, young and cute. One woman was brave enough to sit next to me and we have good chats about her other courses, the mid-terms she is preparing for, and that her printer broke and she couldn’t print out our assignment that was due that day. I told her to email me next time and I would print it out for her. Adult’s printers don’t break.
Another young woman, who sits in front of me, is a good conversationalist, and our latest chat was about shoes. I was happy to hear that this is a topic that transcends all ages. The only difference was that she told her mother that they were on sale for $40 instead of $70 (regularly $170), not anticipating the fact that Mum would find out when the VISA bill came. I, however, can spend anything I want and already know what will show up on my own VISA bill.
I have settled in though and last week as I rushed to the cafeteria during break time to be first in line to get my steeped tea from Tim Horton’s, I looked around at the kids shuffling behind me in their Uggs and hoodies, and thought to myself, “I am Yoda,” to these tikes. That is, if their parents told them about the movie this character is from.