This looks like an interesting conversation.
April 7, 2012
photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
In high school, as in the rest of life, I was never good at math. In the dream I recently had, in which I was again in high school, with all the familiar details reconstructed except for some tweaks, I still sucked at math.
I’m in the classroom where I sat for my senior year IB American History class. (Did your school have IB? While AP is common in a lot of high schools, the IB program seems to be a bit more esoteric.) Except that instead of American History, the subject being taught is math, and the teacher is not Mrs. Enders, who was tiny and Southern with a blonde bob of hair and a scowl that betrayed her inner sense of humor — she always seemed to delight in how I would playfully flirt with her, which was easy because we were the same height even though she had nearly forty years on me — but instead the teacher is Ms. Baylor, who did not have a blonde bob of hair but instead wore hers in youthful cornrows befitting someone who appeared to have just emerged from college.
In the dream, Ms. Baylor was writing an endless and unsolved formula on the chalkboard. The packed classroom was arranged arranged in three very long conference-style long rows, which was an arrangement that did not exist in my real high school but, as depicted in the dream, may be a reflection of my current real life.
Each of my classmates voraciously copied down every single character of the formula, which took up the entire chalkboard, and when Ms. Baylor asked everyone to solve for ‘X’, everyone hunkered down over their sketchpads (this is what they used in the dream, for some reason) and began calculating — everyone, of course, except for me. Although I had also copied down the very long formula, I didn’t understand one character that I was writing down, and when we were instructed to produce a solution, instead I hovered my pen to the bottom of the sheet and…
I sketched a panda in a baseball jersey and a Giants hat.
The panda was lifelike and anthropomorphic, neither of which are qualities I could achieve in a real life drawing because, well, I can’t draw in real life. I gave the cuddly animal a bat and then scribbled a caption: “Panda Sandoval.”
The hardest part about the drawing was making the ‘SF’ logo on the hat. When Ms. Baylor hovered over me to inspect my progress on the formula, I felt momentarily shamed for being disobedient, but then I continued working on the drawing of the ‘SF’ even as she watched in disappointment at my inadequacy. But I knew that it was neither the formila nor math in which I wanted to excel.
* * *
The dream shifted, like a scene change in a TV show. The bell has rung and we are all making a mad dash through the halls after being released from classes. I run into Ally, who could never have been my high school classmate in real life, as there is an eight-year difference between us. But in the dream, she is milling about my high school with a very routine gait, as if she has always belonged in my memories of those years. I run up behind her and before she is able to turn around and acknowledge me, I slip my arms around her waist and teasingly inquire: “Does this feel romantic?”
Ally says, “No, because you’re gay. I mean really gay. Gay as a three-dollar —”
“Oh, shut up,” I tell her, snatching away my hands and then smacking her with the sketchbook. “Look what I drew.”
That was it, Linc. That was the dream: a misplaced math equation, your teammate, and Ally. The morning that I woke up from the dream, I stayed in bed for a few minutes thinking about how vividly my brain had reconstructed the details of those far away days. It was like waking up from a yesterday when I was still in high school.
What a crazy weekend. Everyone’s got the Niners on their minds and, to tell you the truth, so do I. No, I haven’t become a football convert, the way baseball took over my life —- what, almost three years ago? Wow. It’s already approaching three years. I am often told how lucky I am that I become a baseball fan in one season, and then in the next, that my hometown baseball team should suddenly win the World Series…
I’ve always meant to understand football better, and the Niners making it so deep into the playoffs is a great excuse to do that, to better understand another one of my hometown teams. Late in life, Linc, I have become a sports fan.
It was also a crazy weekend because of how busy I’ve been. This is a rare moment I’ve had to myself, and I wish it could last longer but it can’t because I’ve got to get some sleep — and to think that today’s AP kids are bogged down with so much homework that their high school lives are scheduled with very little difference in style from those of their adult counterparts with authentically adult responsibilities. When I grow up, I want my kids to be kids for as long as they can. They can do whatever they want when they turn eighteen.
Aw, Linc: that’s eighteen years of my own life that I need to start planning for right now. The older I get, the older I’ll be during those eighteen years. But there’s a missing part of the equation: you, Ray, or some equivalent. Solve for ‘X’.
Pablo has a little conversation with his bat.
Giants vs Padres - September 5, 2011
I cannot stress enough how much I love all of this.
he has such a cute smile :D
Yes. Yes, he does.