Saturday was CR's "Science Olympiad." I am not sure how common this is, but it's kind of an extra-curricular "Science is Fun" competition. It was a blast. It was held in Sandburg Middle School, a school near where I used to live back when the FanTek house was in Mount Vernon. It's weird, the old neighborhood hasn't changed much on Old Fort Hunt Road. But that's a side note.
My son and a girl named Sarah (hauntingly familiar persona: GT and LD... exactly the kind of friends I had back in high school) were doing the "Egg Drop" competition, and got second place in distance, and although the egg broke on their design, only one school did not. A school I will call God's Karma.
During the egg drop, I met a nice guy with a coach badge, and he was talking about how they hoped their missile/helicopter design would work. He was a teacher, I could tell that, and was very friendly and chatty. I got along well with him as school after school dropped their eggs from the stairwell to the target below. His was the ONLY school that it didn't break. His school? Longfellow. My old Junior High. The name that almost makes me scream and run out of the room in terror. Two of the worst years of my life as a kid were in that asylum.
And God said, "Ha!"
But seriously, I had a great time. Sarah's mom was a physics teacher at West Springfield High, and we got along GREAT. Their family is so typically... GT. I swear, I was in a time warp, listening to my best friend Kate's dad go on about computers and the F&SF Magazine. What did Sarah take with her to read while other class people did their contests? All the core Dungeons and Dragons manuals. Sarah and CR quizzed me on old D&D monsters, and I got most of them right. I was in a junior high, looking at Longfellow's table, reciting D&D stats from memory with GT people and surrounded by teachers I was getting along with. For the first time in... maybe ever, for a brief few hours, I didn't mind childhood memories so much. Nerdvana...
One thing I noticed was how... flaky some people were. Get this, 12 kids and some parents were supposed to show. Six kids and three parents showed. One kid was dropped off with no food, no money to buy food, and a lot of us parents and teachers worried about her, although she refused any free food we tried to give her. Her tee-shirt said, "Do not Disturb: I am disturbed enough already." You know, a tee-shirt that said that on an adult would be funny. On a kid... especially a sad kid who looks at the food table with interest, yet refuses food offered to her, not so funny. Whispers about her home life abounded, and we all kept an eye on her to make sure she was okay. She seemed very distant and sad. My own childhood memories showed those familiar dark clouds over her head: those used to be my clouds. I was also incensed that six kids didn't show. I mean, this is an elective that you train and prepare for for months. How could you just flake and not show to the competition? I mean, we were angry when actors in Prune Bran did that: show up randomly for rehearsals, then flake on performance day. "This is par for course," said the school coach.
We got home from the Olympiad around 4, in time for one of Christine's parties. A lot of people didn't show. Some were sick (one had some chest cold thing, and another was recovering from surgery after being attacked by a wild animal... all good reasons to stay in bed), but others did show with no note as to why. A lot of our friends do that, which bums me out. I mean, you buy lots of food, and then there's no one there to eat it. But Missie showed up, then Sean and Lou-ann came late, and finally Sara and Josh came, and we had a pretty good time. I had to go to bed by 11, because I had only a few hours of sleep, and had been busy with the Olympiad all day.
When I woke up at 9am on Sunday, people were asleep, but when they woke up, the party continued. Until 9pm on Sunday. I didn't mind, really, but felt bad I couldn't hang out with them all the time because I had to do some shopping, cleaning, laundry, bills, and so on.
I love our friends. They are awesome.
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