In Defense of Re-Reading Books

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“What books have you been reading lately?”

I considered. “I’ve been re-reading a bunch of books. Anne of Green Gables. The Secret Garden. The Chronicles of Narnia. A lot of children’s classics, I guess.”

Micah and Sarah Beth stared at me across the table. “Why would you re-read books?” Micah asked.

“Some books are just really good,” I said.

“Yes, but it’s never the same if you read it again.”

“True.”

To be honest, I didn’t quite know why re-reading was so important to me. It was just something I always did. I thought that the people who didn’t re-read were the weird ones.

It was Wednesday Morning Coffee Time (P.S. you’re still invited), and presently, Sarah Beth and I had to leave to pick up Ashley and go on our Portland expedition. I thought about books a lot that day. First, at Powell’s Books, I found many books I wanted to buy, all of which cost more than I could justify spending. At the subsequent thrift stores I looked for books but found nothing I really wanted.

Finally, at the Goodwill Outlet, I dug through the large bin of unwanted books. It was my last chance to find an affordable book. For some reason, I felt a strongly-tugging desire to leave Portland with a book in hand. And so I sifted through the bin, tossing aside paperback romances and beat-up textbooks, looking for something remotely good.

Just as I was about to give up and move on to the clothing bins, I saw it: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. I was so excited I nearly hyperventilated.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. One of the most well-written, creative, and unique modern books I’ve ever read. Besides that, it is a book for adults written with the creativity of a children’s book, which is depressingly rare. And it was at a discount Goodwill.

I left Portland with a warm lump of satisfaction in my heart. If I hadn’t read the book yet, I wouldn’t have felt the same feeling. An un-read book can always disappoint you the way that already-read books cannot.

“Is that the answer?” I asked myself. “Do I re-read books because they are a safe place that can’t disappoint me?”

When I got home I sat cross-legged on my bed and cracked open the volume. Reading the well-crafted witty writing was like hearing a brilliant song, and wondering how the creator of the content could have such unbelievable talent.

Maybe I re-read books for the same reason people look at a painting again and again, or crank up the same song every time it comes on the radio. There is a multifaceted loveliness to artwork that can’t be fully appreciated if you only experience it once.

I read up to the point where Mr. Segundus and Mr. Honeyfoot get a tour of Mr. Norrell’s library, and then put the book away for the night. I drifted off to sleep, imagining that I had Mr. Norrell’s library, or at least, something very like it. It was a wonderful thing to imagine.

That’s the real reason I re-read books, I guess. A book is like a magical wardrobe that leads to another world, and I want to go there again. Even if the same things happen each time I enter, I always want to go back.

The Portland Expedition

“How would you feel about going and exploring Portland tomorrow?” my friend Sarah Beth asked me.

“Okay,” I said.

A month or so ago, in my finding beauty post, I wrote that “This summer, I’d like to visit various pretty/awesome spots in Oregon and blog about them.” Portland seemed like a logical place to begin.

Our friend Ashlie went along too. We didn’t make any plans, just hopped in the car and went.

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I took Sarah Beth’s phone and snapped a picture, out the window, of the pretty rosebushes that sprawled along the roadside. Only I accidentally took a creeper picture and the guy looked at me really strangely.

Sorry, random Portlandian.

Of course, the first place we stopped was Powell’s Books. To be honest, it was kind of a disappointment. I was expecting it to be sort of like Smith Family Bookstore in Eugene, which also sells new and used books.

Smith Family bookstore is the kind of place that is overflowing with books, stacking them in corners when there isn’t enough room on the shelves. There’s a library-type hush over the whole place, and you can wander in and out of the bookshelves for hours without seeing anyone else, occasionally hearing the click of a book being placed on the shelf in the next room to remind you that you’re not alone in this world of ideas.

I expected Powell’s to be like this, only on a giant scale, with infinitely more places to get lost. It does, after all, call itself the “city of books.” But it wasn’t like that at all. Even though it was a Wednesday afternoon there were people everywhere. Everything was so carefully organized that it resembled a new bookstore much more than a used bookstore.

I’d still recommend going, because it’s a great place to look for your favorite hard-to-find books. It’s expensive compared to thrift-store books, but cheaper than buying books online because you don’t have to pay shipping.

Also, I kept laughing because around every corner I saw these people who looked so stereotypically portland-ish.

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Here I am reading a book about design school projects. I was trying to figure out if I was skilled enough to do design-school level sewing projects, but eventually I figured out that this wasn’t a book about fashion design school. It was a book about design school in general. Like, logos and stuff.

We were in Powell’s for exactly an hour, and then our parking meter ran out so we power-walked back to our car and went to Taco Bell for lunch.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You drove all the way to Portland to eat at Taco Bell?!? But the way I figured it, eating at an awesome Portland restaurant could get pretty expensive, and it would be much more economically feasible to eat cheap and fulfill our foodie obligations later by stopping at, like, an awesome Portland bakery or something.

We then drove into a residential section with free 3-hour street-side parking, where we blocked the bike lane for about five minutes while we tried to parallel park. There was a really cool old church on the corner, and after trying unsuccessfully to go inside and tour it, we stood on the steps and read our map for a while, trying to figure out where to go next.

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Eventually we just decided to wander around and see if we could find any cool shops. It looked pretty promising at first. We ducked into this nifty store that sold cactus plants and wool ponchos and notebooks made with recycled paper.

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“I’m going to go look in that old mirror and primp, and you should take a picture,” I said to Sarah Beth. But when I got to the mirror I wasn’t sure I knew how to “primp,” so I pinched my cheeks like they do in old books and it ended up looking pretty odd.

I was inexplicably tired. Since there was a Starbucks on every street corner, we went into one and Ashlie ordered some coffee and got me a cup of hot water. I had a tea bag in my purse, of course. The tea revived me a bit, but I was pretty embarrassed to walk around with a Starbucks cup.

“Why is that embarrassing?” Ashlie asked, confused.

“I don’t know. It just seems so, like, basic white girl,” I said.

Then I got Sarah Beth to take a picture of me being a basic white girl.

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Obviously I fail at making duck lips. Do people even do duck lips anymore? I have no idea.

We chatted with an older couple who informed us that there wasn’t much to do in this district except go to restaurants. Only, there were some good bakeries, they said.

We skipped off in the direction of the bakery.

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Ashlie bought this odd fig bread that actually tasted really awesome. Then we wandered around, over a bridge and back again, before deciding to head back to the car and try a different section of town.

This section housed the big thrift stores. One in particular was quite memorable. It was a Goodwill outlet where everything was thrown into big blue bins, and the stuff you bought was paid for by the pound. I loved that place. It was like a treasure hunt. You’d paw through stained worn-out t-shirts, and then, ta-da! You’d see a cute Chanel-type jacket. Unfortunately, too small. Keep digging.

I could have spent hours in there, but grimy bins of twice-rejected junk is not everyone’s cup of tea. Next time I go I’ll have to take a crew of Yoders with me.

Sarah Beth had a Sephora gift card, so we went downtown, parked in a parking garage, and walked past the swanky glass doors of the Apple Store, and Tiffany’s, and fancy stores like that. It was sort-of like a mini version of 5’th Avenue in New York City, only without the awesome window displays.

Suddenly, on the street corner, I saw a drinking fountain with a continuing stream of water spouting from the top. I was so excited. “Is this a drinking fountain?” I exclaimed. I took a drink without having to push any buttons. “I can’t believe it! I read about these things in ‘The Luckiest Girl’ by Beverly Cleary! I read that in Portland they have these, but I’ve never actually seen them, so I didn’t know if they still existed!!!”

Not being children’s book nerds themselves, Ashlie and Sarah Beth didn’t find it nearly as cool or interesting as I did.

We went into Sephora, and Ashlie and I stood around playing with samples and marveling at how expensive the nail polish was while Sarah Beth shopped. Then we walked across the street to the mall, where we were joined by our friend Christina, who drove down from Washington to hang out with us.

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We stood in the skywalk and tried to look like cool people who hang out in skywalks. In general, we just hung around the mall until I got locked into H&M.

“We should go have supper at those cool ethnic food carts we saw as we were driving over here,” I said, once I’d managed to exit H&M and joined my crew once more.

“Okay,” said Sarah Beth. “Do you remember where they were?”

“No,” I said.

So we nixed that idea and decided to just go home. Only we didn’t remember where we’d parked our car either. We went into the parking garage we THOUGHT we’d parked in, and after a lengthy conversation with the attendant, during which we realized that we were much more absentminded and spacey than we’d previously thought, the attendant realized that we were in the wrong garage. We needed to go to the one down the street, next to the athletic clothing store.

Thus ended our Portland adventure, and we drove home, munching on fig bread to fill our tummies.

It was was fun to nose around aimlessly, but I kept thinking about the time I went to Portland to hang out with my cousin Bird, who had lived there for a while, and she took me to a tea shop that sold countless types of tea, and the most artsy-fartsy thrift store I’ve ever been in. I’d like to visit Portland again, only plan ahead this time, and get advice from people who know their way around the city.

Then I’ll write a Portland Expedition Part Two post.

So if you, reader, have ever lived in/visited Portland, what were the niftiest places you liked to visit?

“Do you think you’ll write any other book in the future?” And other questions, answered.

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Today I just wanted to post about something non-controversial that wouldn’t require pictures. I was going to look up one of those “15 Random Facts About Me!” tags we used to do in Xanga days,  but they were all so silly/narcissistic that I decided instead to answer questions that real readers have asked me on this very blog.

Of course, these questions are from 3-5 years ago. And they are taken completely out of context. All the better to amuse you with, my dear.

Q. Can I come traipsing through your house sometime?

A. Yes, so long as you’re a firefighter and my house is on fire.

Q. I am wondering how I can order your book?

A. Funny you should ask! I just put a Paypal button in the “book” tab, so now you can order my book directly from my blog. Yay!

Q. Ok so I have to ask…What is round table?

A. A flat object with legs, in which the distance from one end to the other multiplied by 3.14 is approximately equal to the length of the entire edge.

Or a place where knights like to sit.

Or a game played around a rectangle table, similar to ping-pong, in which multiple players run around and around the table hitting the ping-pong ball.

(My goodness, sometimes the simplest questions are the hardest to answer. I feel like none of those answers would make any sense to someone who was honestly asking that question.)

Q. Do you think you’ll write any other book in the future?

A. Here’s the thing: the book I wrote six years ago was such a fluke of good timing that it almost isn’t fair. Let me just list everything that fell neatly into place.

  1.  I had something interesting to write about (my sickness).
  2.  I had extensively journaled and blogged during the process, so that the actual writing was already 80% done by the time I started.
  3. Since I was still in recovery, I had all the time in the world to work on my book.
  4. I had an editor calling me every week to check up on my progress.
  5. Since the book was part of a series “by teens for teens,” no more than a teenage-level of writing skill was required.

Since then I have not had these advantages, and I have not written another publishable book. Still, I think that it will eventually happen. It feels inevitable to me. I just don’t want it to be something I dashed out in a month, like the last one. I want to take my time and let it be well-crafted.

Q. Do you make a lot of your own clothes?

A. Less than I wish I did. I like sewing, and I would much rather wear my own designs than store-bought clothing. However, sewing takes time, and I always end up getting free clothes from random places that makes it hard to commit to sewing.

Q. Was it my pink dress?

A. Yes, and if you ever want to see your pink dress again, you must deliver $100 in cash to…

Wait, I’m not sure how the cash-delivery part of ransom notes works. Maybe you can pay me in Bitcoin. I’ll figure it out and then get back to you.

Q. Who would you like us to pick out for you?

A. Dear random internet person (people?), are you offering to find me a boyfriend? Well, all right. I’d like to order someone who is a thinker, and who is an adventurer, and who is a believer in Jesus Christ.

Just remember, I have veto power.

Q. Emily – did you eat some Eggplant Parmesan (which is second to none) before you went to bed??

A. No…but maybe I’d try some if I was dating Marvy Snuffleson. Is this a hint? Let’s see, he’s certainly an adventurer. I think he’s a believer in Jesus Christ. You could make an argument that’s he’s also a thinker…but…

Nope, I think I’ll use my veto power on this one. Sorry internet. I appreciate the effort.

Q. What books has your mom written?

A. My mom has written five books:

Ordinary Days

Upstairs the Peasants are Revolting

Downstairs the Queen is Knitting

Tea and Trouble Brewing

Footprints on the Ceiling

Q. Don’t you just love the way God works?

A. I’m not sure how to answer this question. Usually when God is working in my life, “love” is not the word I’d use to describe it. Most learning requires a certain degree of pain.

Still, I must admit that seeing the aftermath of God’s work in an individual is a thing of rare beauty that I love. As an example, look no further than the families of the Charleston shooting victims having the ability to publicly forgive the shooter. So absolutely counter-intuitive and full of grace and beauty in the face of horror.

Q. OK so I have to ask. . .why do you feel that you “owe it to Larry to try to explain to Bob why Larry has this opinion.”?

A. I’m skipping this question because it is confusing and makes me think of cucumbers and tomatoes.

Q. Remember all the awesome times at SMBI?

A. I probably don’t remember all of them. Too bad I don’t have a magic memory.

Well that was sort-of weird. Tell you what. If you leave me a comment asking a real question (preferably not about round tables or veggie-tales characters) I’ll try to write another Q and A blog post with questions and answers that make more sense.

Deal? Okay. See you next time.

You’ve Been Skunked!

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It happened at midnight. I was about to go to sleep when suddenly, the good sweet country air was replaced by the sour cloying scent of skunk.

It is difficult to describe how strong the smell was, but it was bad. The chemicals began to burn my throat.

Jenny’s bedroom door slammed, and I met her in the hall. She was clutching a pillow and blanket. “Is the skunk smell bad in your room too?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said. “I thought maybe it was worse in my room because the window was open, so I’m going to try sleeping downstairs.”

“It’s really bad in my room too,” I said.

“It’s really bad right here where I’m standing,” said Jenny. She ventured downstairs and found that the living room also reeked.

I lay in bed for a long time, unable to sleep. I put on perfume. I prayed God would help  me sleep despite the smell. I tried imagining that I LIKED the smell of skunks. Eventually I drifted off, but all night long I kept waking up and smelling it.

I’ve rarely been so happy to leave for school at 7:15 am. “Clean, fresh air!” I exclaimed as we pulled out of the driveway. “Were you kept awake by the skunk smell last night?” I asked Ben.

“So a skunk did spray,” said Ben. “I wasn’t sure if that actually happened or if I dreamed it.”

“Man, I still smell it on me,” I said, sniffing my sweater.

“Really?” Ben asked.

“Yeah,” I said. “I have a pretty sensitive sense of smell.”

“I hear that pregnant women have extra sensitive senses of smell,” said Ben.

“…..but….I’m not pregnant….”

“I mean, if you ever are pregnant it will probably be really bad for you.”

“Oh.”

I was sort of paranoid that everyone at school could smell the skunk on me. I kept getting whiffs, especially when I opened my backpack.

Mom sent me a text: “I think the skunk sprayed into the intake vent of the furnace.”

That made sense. I told Ben this theory when we were driving home.

“That would explain why it wasn’t as bad in our room. We had our vents closed,” he said.

Then he added, “when I got to my first class, the guy behind me said, “phew! Why does it smell like skunk in here?”

We laughed.

When we got home, I walked in the back door while Ben went to get the paper. A wall of smell greeted me, and I dashed back outside.

“What do we do?” I asked Ben. I was seriously considering calling up my Aunt Bonnie and asking if I could go take a nap at her house.

“Is it really that bad?” Ben asked.

“Yes,” I said. “It didn’t seem so bad this morning because we’d gotten used to it during the night.”

He went in, and agreed with me that it was really, really bad. We went around opening all the available windows and doors. Ben went up to the attic to get fans. Incidentally the attic ladder was having issues, and one of the spring/hinge combos broke completely off.

Just another joyous event to add to our day.

Ben managed to balance on the wobbly ladder and find a fan. I turned on the bathroom fans and the fan above the stove, and febreezed the house. Then I went outside to eat my lunch in the fresh air.

Julie the cat climbed onto my lap, and I congenially petted her. But the smell. The skunk smell. It was here, again. I sniffed the cat. Phew!

I tried to get her to relinquish her seat on my lap, and she clawed me.

Poor thing.

Mom and Jenny returned from picking strawberries. “Wow it stinks! Did the skunk spray again?” they asked as they walked in the door.

“No, it just didn’t seem so bad this morning when you were used to it,” I said. “I think I know what happened. I think the cat was protecting her kittens…”

“I know what happened,” said Jenny, interrupting me. “The skunk sprayed all over that section of the porch…”

“Even reaching the intake vent of the furnace,” Mom added.

“and the cat reeked,” Jenny finished.

“Yeah, I smelled her,” I said.

“I’ve already washed her in peroxide three times,” said Mom.

“She keeps following us around, meowing, wanting us to get the smell off of her,” Jenny added.

Someone stopped at the store to get extra peroxide, and I mixed it with baking soda and dish soap and began scrubbing the yellow stains that spattered the vinyl siding of the porch.

Slowly but surely the smell receded. It’s at manageable levels now, no longer burning my throat. But if you hang around me this week and I smell like skunk, please forgive me.

Moral: If you have a problem with skunks eating your catfood, and with cats attacking said skunks, it may be best to keep the food well away from any intake vents.

Finding Beauty

I’ve lived in Oregon for 75% of my life. I know it’s pretty. But like gum stains on the Walmart parking lot or graffiti on boxcars, at some point things become so commonplace that I don’t really notice them anymore.

(This may also be due to the fact that approximately half of my life is spent inside my own head, but whatever.)

A few friends of mine recently visited Oregon, and suddenly Instagram was flooded with beautiful images, the captions singing the praises of my beautiful state. “But…but…I see that all the time!” I kept thinking. “How come I never thought of it as Instragram-worthy?”

It’s springtime in Oregon, one of the prettiest things there is. And I’ve been taking it for granted.

I decided that this must stop, and I was going to go out and pick a bouquet of wild roses and snowballs, and I was going to take pictures and blog about it no matter how Ann Voskamp-ey it turned out.

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I even picked the flowers onto this round flat basket instead of a cracked ice cream bucket like usual.

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But seriously, how pretty is the snowball tree, and white dusting of petals on the grass, like sprinkled snow? Or powdered sugar? Or dandruff?

(I had to say that just to keep from over Ann Voskamping it.)

(I really have nothing against Ann Voskamp, in case anyone was worried. :-) Just not the writing style I usually try to emulate.)

Anyway, I was quite proud of my bouquet, and it made my room smell amazing. I put the leftover rosebuds in some vintage perfume bottles and they actually opened up, later, when I set them on the windowsill. That was nice. They didn’t die as quickly that way.

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As much as I love bouquet-making, I decided I’d rather appreciate Oregon’s beauty another way: by going on adventures. This summer, I’d like to visit various pretty/awesome spots in Oregon and blog about them. If you have recommendations for where to go, please don’t hesitate to comment!

Stop Being Rude to Single People: A Response

Yesterday, Shasta’s Fog wrote a blog post about what it’s like to be single in a Mennonite community. It has since gone “Menno-viral” and stirred up some controversy.

This blog post is a response to that blog post. In my opinion, here’s why I think her article is important, and how I think it should be interpreted.

Note: This is my personal opinion. I am not “speaking for” the author in any way.

First: The article is important because it sheds light on an unexplored aspect of singleness.

What do you think of when you think about singleness?

I think of people shaking their heads, saying, “How can she still be single? She’s so kind/sweet/pretty. What’s wrong with all the men?”

I think of all those articles on singleness. Articles about finding your purpose in God and not in a husband, or about waiting for the right one, or about how men should man up and ask out the nice Christian girls.

We always frame the singleness discussion in a very specific way. We assume that the primary motivation for marriage is the inherent joy of having a loving life partner and the ability to start a family, and that the pain of singleness stems from a lack of those things.

Esther’s article was the first I’ve seen that said, essentially, “singleness is tough because single people are treated differently. It’s hard to be excluded from ‘the married club.'”

Second: The article should be viewed as a springboard for thought, and not be taken quite so literally.

If you took the article 100% literally, you may get the idea that married people have to tread on thin ice around single people in order to avoid offending them.

Conversely, you may get the idea that married people are completely rude and insensitive by virtue of being married.

Obviously, neither of these is true. If you are married and find yourself doing a couple of the things on the list, now might be a good time to stop. HOWEVER, we get that you’re busy, and don’t always know how to respond in “the right way.” We’re not constantly offended, and we give grace to people who have good intentions but are rude anyway.

We just want our perspective to be heard, too.

Which leads to the next point, which is…

Third: It’s more about the culture than about the specifics.

Being kind to single people is not about following a specific list. It’s not about inviting them to all the right parties and never asking them to babysit. It’s about including them and treating them like adults, which is going to look a bit different in every situation.

Culturally, we see people as somehow, magically becoming adults when they get married. When do people move from the youth Sunday school class to the adult Sunday school class? When do people get invited to go on the ladies’ retreat, or get asked to be on a committee?

This isn’t a uniquely Mennonite problem. If I had gotten married at age 19, I could have gotten financial aid for college independent of my parents’ income. As it is I had to wait until I was 24, even though when I started college I had already been on my own for a year and a half.

Many cultures, throughout many centuries, have made marriage a benchmark of adulthood. I’m not denying that marriage often forces people to grow up. However, it is important to remember that while this is a common cultural practice, it is not Biblical. As Esther pointed out, both Jesus and the apostle Paul were single, and the latter actively praised singleness in I Corinthians 7.

In Conclusion…

Please remember that single people are people too.

I welcome your comments, but please respect the fact that Esther is my friend, and will likely be reading this blog. If you feel the need to personally attack her, please do not do it on this blog.

Again: I am not speaking for the author in any way.

MOP April 30: You, Too, Have the Power to Change Things

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My Russian History class is two hours long.

I used to think it was absolutely cruel that church services lasted an entire hour…I mean, who could sit still for that long? Couldn’t the preacher condense his message to a well-organized fifteen minutes and still get his point across?

Yet here I am, willingly subjecting myself to sitting still for twice that length, without the luxury of padded orange benches straight from the ’70s.

The lectures are densely packed with information, and there’s no option of looking up the power-point slides later online. Our only hope of a good grade comes from taking detailed notes, and you better believe there is smoke coming out of our pencils as we balance our notebooks on the tiny desks and wish there was space to set a calming mug of tea to sip every now and again.

One day my teacher said, “Our topic of the day is Russian movies. We were going to watch The Storming of the Winter Palace, but we can’t after all, because my only copy is on VHS tape and they removed the VHS player from this room.”

The class heaved a collective sigh of disappointment. Wouldn’t it have been nice, we thought, to get a break from this relentless note-taking? To be able to sit back in our uncomfortable tiny desks and relax with a Russian film? But alas, it was not meant to be.

Monday, when I got to class, the teacher had written “319” on the board in large letters. “We’re meeting in room 319 on Wednesday,” he said. He didn’t say why at first, but it eventually came out that we were going to watch a different Russian film, Aelita: Queen of Mars. This movie was apparently also on VHS, and room 319 still had a VHS player.

When I got to room 319 on Wednesday I was amazed. “This is so nice!” I exclaimed. “Look at these giant wooden tables to spread all our stuff out on!”

“I know,” said the girl next to me. “I had to buy these small composition books so that they’d fit on those tiny desks in the other classroom.”

I happily spread my large binder on the table, and wished I’d stopped to get some tea, as there was now ample space for it. “And look at these chairs! They’re so big and soft!” I sank down into one. “This is such a nice classroom.”

The other students murmured their agreement.

There were still a few minutes before class started, so I continued on in the same vein. I felt very strongly about this. “Why can’t we be in this classroom all the time?” I asked. “If we have to sit for two hours, shouldn’t we get soft seats? If we have to take so many notes, shouldn’t we get a desk we can actually fit our notebooks onto?”

“I don’t make that decision,” said the teacher.

“Who does?” I asked, out of curiosity.

He gave me the name of some department. I dropped the issue then, and began…I don’t even remember what. Fiddling with my backpack, or talking to the girl next to me, or something. I didn’t even notice that the teacher had left for a bit until he came back in with a man I’d never seen before.

“These students have something to say to you,” my teacher told the man.

The man looked at us.

“Um,” I said, “are you the person in charge of deciding which classes happen in which rooms?”

“Actually, most of it is done with a computer program,” said the man.

“Is there any chance we could switch to this room?” I asked. “I mean, we have to sit for two hours, and these chairs are WAY more comfortable. And we have to take so many notes, but it’s hard to take notes on those tiny desks.”

“Hmm,” said the man. “That might work.”

“And,” I added, “this classroom is obviously open during this time slot, so…”

“I’m not sure if it’s always open during this time slot,” said the man, “but I’ll check and get back to you.” And he left.

We watched the movie. It was odd, but my hand got a much-needed rest from note-taking, and my hind end was blissfully comfortable in the plush chair. When it was over, and we all began to pack up our backpacks to leave, the instructor stopped us. “Let me quickly run over and see where we’ll be meeting for our next class,” he said.

We waited patiently.

He came back bearing good news. The wonderful classroom with the large desks and comfortable chairs was ours for the rest of the term.

I never dreamed that I had the power to change what classroom we were in.

I just complained about the situation because complaining is what people do when they can CLEARLY see a better alternative to the option offered. It didn’t cross my mind that those complaints would lead to actual change.

I thought I was powerless.

I think there’s a moral of sorts buried somewhere in this story. I don’t think people should start complaining about their classrooms and demanding a change of location. That could be pretty chaotic. I do think, though, that we (at least, I) tend to complain about things instead of actually trying to make change.

This is usually because we (I) feel powerless. But maybe we have more power than we realize.

A few additional unrelated notes:

1. As it is the last day of April, this is the last MOP post. You can catch up on all Mom’s contributions here, and Jenny’s here.

2. If you were closely tracking me you may have noticed that I was supposed to post yesterday, but didn’t. That’s because Jenny accidentally posted on the wrong day, and I thought, “whatever. I started MOP, I might as well end MOP too.” So here I am, on Jenny’s day, ending MOP.

3. Tomorrow and Saturday, May 1 and 2, Mom’s latest book Footprints on the Ceiling will be free on Amazon.

Hooray!

Download it here.

Tell all your friends.

Have fun!

Stay safe!