The excitement of the first day of school has not lost its punch, even after a 38 year absence from my life!
At 58, I was as excited as ever to buy back-to-school clothes (OK it was only new pair of Levis), pencils (for you Gen Whatever-it-is-nows, those are wooden instruments with graphite in them so that when you sharpen them with a pencil sharpener you can write on paper) and pens (like pencils with no sharpening needed) and erasers (to rub off mistakes you make when using these instruments; no back key provided with these babies) and a zipper case to put them all in. Then there’s the paper and the three ring binders to put the paper in to write notes on (this is somewhat like using a smart phone to type notes and saving them to a file)… And the smell of the new books loaded with untold knowledge!
I woke early to make sure I had time to make and pack my PB&J sandwich and Oreos in their respective zip lock bags and place them in my paper sack to have for lunch. Knowing that I would need a mid morning snack, I packed some carrots and celery with peanut butter filling in a separate sack and labeled the bags; lunch and snack respectively. A bowl of hot Cream of Wheat for a nutritious breakfast and I was ready to experience the joy of the first day of school. With lunch, mid-morning snack and book bag in hand I headed for the door to catch the bus to school, doing my best to be Green.
Zoey, our dog, was at the front door reminding me that she needs to go out in the morning to do her ‘toilet’. Well I think, “I can still make the bus”, but Zoey, ever the social butter fly, decides that she has to go around and check her ‘P’-mail to see who left her notes during the night. Then there is there Simon, our out-side cat, who decides it is time for him to make an appearance to beg for breakfast and a rousing game of ‘dog chase cat’ begins. No tone of voice or stern command can stop the romp that is taking place. Simon takes a few quick swipes at Zoey then makes a quick retreat. Normalcy returns, but Zoey still needs to use the lawn to answer the messages left by her friends.
With time growing short I decide to forgo being Green, just for today, and take the truck. OK, still time to make my first class if I hurry. Half way to Ashland I realize that my so carefully made and packed sandwich, cookies and snack veggies have been left on the table by the front door…well they do have vending machines at school and I do have a few (emphasize few) dollars in my pocket, I’ll get by. Then I remember the pencil case is there next to the lunch bags. A frantic search of the cab of the truck produces nothing of use. If I’m lucky some other non-traditional, pencil using student will have dropped one on the ground.
After spending more time than I have available looking for a parking space, I park two blocks away and jog to school to maybe make my first class on time. Computer print-out schedule in hand (yes even the aged have figured out the rudimentary workings of the computer) I scurry about, bumping into equally dazed Gen-what-ever-it-is-nows, searching for the building that houses the class room I’m to learn in. (damn, should have remembered to print a campus map…old timers disease I guess…need to get that checked if I can remember).
Finally I find it and enter to find that I am slightly early and in what appears to be the right room… but in the wrong building! I make a quick exit, dash to the next building, quickly into the correct room, sweating, breathing hard and looking to the world like I am having a heart attack. The instructor begins to take roll and saves me the embarrassment of answering all the funny stares from at those Gen-whatever-it-is-nows. The lecture begins and I realize that with all my rushing around I didn’t look for a pencil on the ground and now I am going to have to (OH NO) rely on my memory. A girl, young enough to be my daughter, sitting behind me, takes pity on me and lends me a pen and “let’s” me use it for the class and the rest of the day. (Crisis averted; I hope I remember to get it back to her tomorrow…well, we’ll see how that goes)
Except for the hunger pangs that begin at 10:00 (and continue to grow hourly), the rest of my day goes well. I didn’t even have a confrontation in the sand box at recess (though that could be because that I was in a sunspot taking a nap).
Its 4:00 and I have survived the excitement and turmoil and bumbling of the first day of school. I trudge to my truck, weighed down by my book bag, wondering why I need so many books for so few classes, only find that two cars have wedged themselves in front and back of me; causing me to have to wait for their owners to arrive and free me. Twenty minutes later I squeeze myself into the traffic and head home. With no wrecks on the road I speed home-word with thoughts of a nice dinner and glass of wine to end the day. When I arrive home I realize that, with the excitement of preparing for the first day of school I haven’t gone to the market to do the weekly shopping!!! I’m going to starve!!! Wait, I have my PB&J!!! And, yes here in the back of the cub-bard!!! One lonely package of TOP Romen!!! I’m SAVED!!! No wine, but water will do!!!
As I sit down to enjoy my tantalizing meal and reflect on the day, I realize that I am truly back in college, and by no means a Non-Traditional Student!!!… And maybe even one of those Gen What-ever-they-are-nows!