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1 December 2017

It's Time to Go to School

by Andrew

I return from the job in the morning. I walk now. The bike is broken—only a cheap bike from Walmart anyway, afterall. And by the time I return, the nephew and my mother are awake, there in the dark morning light, already shuffling round, long slow movements, beginning their day.

So I take the bag I carry with me to work, which has in it my work clothes, up to the little garret I have here, my room. And I return back downstairs, to where is all the action.

My mom is making her coffee. The nephew watches his cartoons. I'm exhausted, the one-and-a-half hour walk to the job, the 8 hours working, and the one-and-a-half hour walk home, 11 hours straight, all on my feet—though you can be sure I find time enough for long little breaks between. But I begin making my breakfast,—or dinner, or whatever it is at that point, some food—some eggs.

Just after I finish, the nephew tells my mom, that he wants some eggs too. Immediately you can see, just how difficult he is. So she'll make him some eggs. Like uncle Andrew makes them, he says, with oil. I don't know how to cook them with oil, she says. And he comes over to me, says, will you make me some eggs? You should have asked me when I was cooking mine, I say. Grandma will make them for you.

I finish eating my eggs. He starts eating his. My mom joins us at the table, sipping her coffee. It's still about 2 hours till the nephew's bus comes to take him to school.

And this is usually about where, when instead of joining them for breakfast I'm up in my garret trying to sleep, I hear the 2 of them begin to bicker back and forth. The mother nags. The nephew sasses. Progressively louder and louder their arguing becomes in the next 2 hours. Till it crescendos in those last 10 minutes, when she's helping him into his jacket, gloves, hat, and shoes, screaming at the top of her lungs for him to hurry up, while he's crying his loudest, to stop, that he can do it himself—or one thing or another, always something.

I know however, that my presence calms the nephew. When they argue like that,—which has become nearly every day—I can't sleep anyway. So I'll stay awake these 2 hours till he goes to school, I decide. And all week, I've been doing just that. There've been no arguments. Some days we'll draw. Some days we'll sit and chit-chat. Some days, we'll watch TV.

But this morning, I was a bit irritated. Staying awake 2 hours longer in the morning makes me wake, when I do finally sleep, 2 hours later in the afternoon. Which usually is my time to do everything, before work—my little bit of writing and study each day, and my attempts to make some extra money, in order to escape this house. So I've been having less of that time, waking now nearer to when I must again leave to go to the job.

So this morning, I grabbed the phone and sat with the nephew while he watched TV. And I tried to write. But he kept trying to get my attention, to play with him, some of these 3,000 or so toys he has. And nearly every single one of those toys makes noise. Some new trend that must have been. Because nearly literally, they all make noise. And he was pushing this button and that button. Between him yapping to look at this, and to look at that, and all those toys blaring, I couldn't concentrate.

So I stood to walk up to the garret, for some peace. But the nephew knows how it works now—that I go up there when he's annoyed me. So he raced up the stairs, into the garret, and was jumping on the bed.

I march back down the stairs, cursing underneath my breath. My mother yells up at him, to get out of that room—all her junk up there hoarded. She marches up the stairs herself. And now she's in the garret screaming at the nephew to get out, to leave uncle Andrew alone. And I'm in the kitchen pulling out my hair. I feel bad that I didn't just play toys with him. It's not enough that he's up there bouncing round in the garret,—the only place I even somewhat have some peace—but now my mother is in there too, screaming and yelling. Which annoys me the absolute most, more than the nephew crying or just generally being loud, my mother nagging and screaming.

But I see now—the magic of writing. Maybe that was my mother's place, before I arrived, her garret of junk. And that's where she used to escape. And I am the one destroying her peace, for which she has infinite patience. All while I comment here on her lack of patience.

Anyway, I was sat at the kitchen table quietly typing here on the phone when they both returned back downstairs. And the nephew immediately runs over to me, playfully kicking and punching. But I've had enough by now. I say to him, that sometimes I leave you alone because I can't concentrate with you buzzing all round like you do. I have things I must do. I need to concentrate. And you're too loud.

He pouts a bit. But finally he calms down. A bit dejectedly he walks into the living room, plops himself onto his chair, and blankly watches TV. Maybe 2 minutes pass, and he's bored already—good. And he returns to the table, still obeying this "code of silence." He grabs a pencil and some paper. He'll write messages too, he says—having seen my phone as I type.

By now, it's almost time for him to catch the bus. So my mother tells him again and again and again, that it's almost time to leave, now. And then it's time to put on the shoes. And then the jacket, and the gloves, and the hat. Get the bookbag out the closet. Zip that coat up. Tie those shoes. The bus will be here any minute. Stand here and wait. Okay, we can go outside now. Watch for cars.

And I was just sitting here, typing and observing. How backwards it all is! Finally he had calmed, the nephew. He was sitting there with pencil and paper, creating. Though no one else I know believes this like me, that creation is our ultimate purpose, we humans. He was writing sentences, which he still hasn't learned in school. But almost immediately as his pencil touched the paper, my mom is already nagging at him, distracting him, it's almost time to go, now, it's almost time to go. And then finally the full force of it, getting dressed, putting on the shoes, tying the shoes, watching for the bus, walking to the bus stop, being shuttled-off to school.

It takes all this movement, all this activity,—all these distractions—all in order to go to school. To what, to learn? To finally sit and write some sentences? When all the while the opportunity to sit and to create has been right here at home the entire time. He was already doing it even.

The futility is appalling. I see it so anyway. And it's offensive. How blind is my mother, ushering him off. How engulfed is the nephew, no other choice. While maybe the rich keep their kids at home,—if they do—a governess or a tutor, to teach them properly. By the money they make, too, these rich,—no doubt in some position or another to receive a nice cut of those profits from such high costs spread over such a large population—from the poor, who pay to send their kids off to these schools. Which schools teach systemized, filtered trash on top of it all. For which we pay, for the "luxury" of being constantly distracted, finally allowed to sit and learn spoon-fed junk.

Though let me tell you. That those who maybe are reaping the rewards of a complacent underclass, they're doing it wrongly too, even sending their kids off to be educated at these schools, only to be distracted the same. And the only thing they've got, these rich kids, which the poor kids don't, is their connections to jobs—to the money—after the schooling. When they've been just as diluted as the poor really, though more comfortably so—which only further inhibits.

It's a wave of quality approaching, this disturbance in the air, which is beginning more and more to be perceived. I see it now. Take your connections, all your possessions, your jobs, your schools. What's it matter anyhow? It's all junk. And people are beginning to see, to recognize.


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