I have a student who speaks badly about women, swears when he shouldn’t, and reacts poorly to perceived criticism and the consequences of his actions.
I ask him casually in the hall how his day is going and he keeps walking without even looking in my direction. I sit down next to him in class to check in and I have to say his name half a dozen times before he begrudgingly acknowledges me. I try to have productive, relationship-building conversations, and he actively shuts me out.
Then he grabs some chalk and writes insulting messages on the chalk boards.
And then he gets pissed off and storms out when he gets in trouble.
By which I mean it’s the beginning of the year. I’ve moved to a new city–with all the hassles that come from being the good tenant who follows those disastrous ones you see on HGTV who left the place a god-forsaken wreck–and I’ve begun a new job.
So elections were yesterday and despite distractions galore, I still managed to reach my daily word count goal for NaNoWriMo. Through antihistamines and philosophers, economic speakers and communication workshops, I thought the day would end on a solemn note. And when I saw some of the election results, certainly it seemed solidly solemn enough, but somehow there is clarity in these wins and losses–clarity that my vote didn’t count.
But don’t mistake me for apathy. There’s more to it than that.
When I was younger (and by all regards, I’m still young–don’t get me wrong–but bear with me please), Hebrew school was the cornerstone of my life. “Wait,” you say, “this is Pokemon Wednesday. What’s Hebrew school got to do with it?” I’ll get there. I repeat: Bear with me please. My mother, kitchen manager of my synagogue, and my sister, attending college ten minutes across town, simultaneously set the stage for me to spend most of my days (at least, as memory serves; fact itself may differ accordingly) trapped in my synagogue’s social hall doing schoolwork, reading, wandering around aimlessly as I fantasised about worlds I’ve still yet to commit to paper, and–here it comes–playing Pokemon. Although many great things I’ve accredited to this confinement, the one in particular I choose to recall today is the only one of relevance here: The conjunction between Pokemon and Hebrew school.