Second-graders and Truck Drivers

September 27, 2011 § 16 Comments

Clearly, I missed the memo.

Apparently there is a special bond that formed over the summer.  It wasn’t like this on the last field trip I chaperoned…towards the end of first grade for my youngest kiddo, I don’t know, in May or so.  Surely if the signs were there last time, I would have seen them.

Were there letters back and forth?  Is there something in the second-grade curriculum about this?  Why wasn’t I informed?  Is there a secret informational conduit between second-graders and truck drivers?  (I’m picturing something like Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, here…)

Maybe it’s just the grapevine – one kid on one bus happened to know the universal sign for “Hey, Truck Driver!  Honk your horn!” was a fist in the air, pulling down on an imaginary cord.  Another kid saw him do it, and started doing it too…and soon, entire busloads of kids were completely transfixed on the traffic around them.

It’s as if they were WILLING the trucks in the lanes behind them to go a little faster . Using their incredible mind powers to move cars that dared to be between the school bus and the truck.  They squinted.  There were lookouts.  “There’s one 3 cars behind us!”  And then the mental maneuvering began.  Some kids were quiet about it, an intense look of concentration on their faces, their hands in their laps.   Others were unconsciously moving their hands and leaning their bodies towards the lanes into which they were hoping the offending cars would move.  Still others were slightly less subtle, bouncing up and down and begging the cars, “MOVE!!!!  MOVE!!!!”

As each car moved out of the way, there were bursts of little happy sounds, but they quickly changed back into the concentrated hush that preceded them.  There were still more cars to move.  And when that was done?  Oh, there was still the work of the master puppeteering of the truck.  Half the kids are already making the universal sign, practically breaking a sweat as their little fists pumped up and down in the air furiously.  I’d say these efforts were a bit premature, as I don’t think the truck driver saw them, but it was hard to fault their enthusiasm.

And then?  Then…there…was…EYE CONTACT.  This was the job and sober responsibility of the kids sitting in the very back of the bus.  Waving their arms wildly, and some shouting, “Hey!  Hey!  Truck Driver!!!!” a connection was made.  The truck driver noticed the school bus.  He gave a small smile, nodded his head, as if he now understood his mission and its importance.  He began checking his rear-view mirrors.  He was safe and stealthy as he moved into the lane on one side of the bus.

It was now almost impossible to contain their excitement.  All signs of decorum and dignity usually displayed by second-graders had fallen away.  The school bus itself was practically bouncing up and down through the sheer force of dozens of  7-year-olds pumping their fists in unison – it was inevitable and undeniable.

The trucker smiled.  He smiled big.  He reached up, and grabbed the cord, and HOOOOOOOONNNNNKKKKKKed!  The kids absolutely dissolved into giggles and cheers, and the truck driver looked like he had just been awarded the Heavyweight Championship Belt.  And he had – at least the second-grade version of it.  There’s not much time to bask in the glory, though.  Within a few seconds the high-pitched alarm was sounded: “There’s TWO trucks behind us!!!”

And just like that, their tireless work began again.

A Belated Jump onto the Blogging Bandwagon…

September 24, 2011 § 8 Comments

What do “Where the Wild Things Are,” stranger danger, and the death of Osama Bin Laden have in common?

Come on – guess.  No…they have no relation to Kevin Bacon.  Try again.  No…they aren’t new Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavors.  One more try?  No…James Franco is not involved in any kind of artistic project about any of them.  That I know of…yet.

Okay, I’ll tell you.

These are my writing roots.  These are subjects that spurred lengthy notes on Facebook that I published for only my FB friends to see.  Moments and experiences that could not be compressed into a FB status update.

A rather boring series of events led from these notes to my starting to blog on Catonsville Patch.  About what, you ask?  The editor asked me the same thing.  ”What’s your angle/focus/topic?”  To which I have a tendency to reply, “Anything.”  I have always been the kind of student/friend/daughter/wife/mother/human to operate more as a hub with spokes reaching out in many directions.  Fingers in many pies, as it were.  So, it stands to reason that my inspiration and source material should come from many different directions as well.  And they do, indeed.

I’ve been so encouraged by responses to my notes and Patch blog posts, that I’m venturing out on my own with a blog on WordPress.  Hopefully I can get past the techno-moron phase of this and become adept at formatting the page layout, pointing the whojiwhatsis to the right browser-thingie, getting a picture up, and other extremely advanced computer functions that I am sure my 7-year-old son could help me with.

Eventually, I will have my previous writings settled in either the Archives section or on static pages – trying to figure that out now.   (Do I really deserve archives if this is only my first post on WordPress?)

To begin with, though, here’s a link to my first blog post on Catonsville Patch, in which I come out of the (writing) closet, and post a link to a TED talk by Clifford Stoll – the guy I want to be when I grow up.  Wish me luck, and please share your thoughts!

http://catonsville.patch.com/blog_posts/the-worthington-post

Where Am I?

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