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Friday, May 13, 2011

"...and you know what you know."

Okay, so I have a son receiving his Bachelor of Arts Degree in two weeks. All I have to say about that is that, when his diploma finally arrives in the mail, it had better say "with assistance from his mother" under his name. "Mom? Can you front me 20 bucks?" "Mom? Can you print this for me?" "Mom? Can you bring my script to campus, I left it on the dining room table" "Mom? Can you pick me up?" "Mom? How does the Pythagorean theorem work again?"

Yes, that last one is true. My son, who was doing college level math in high school (until he got to Calculus which finally did him in, apparently it does that to a LOT of people) was asking me for help with his Geometry homework. Which is kinda funny if you know me because, while I can do accounting type math in my sleep I got a "D" in high school Algebra by making Sister what'shernameagain? a promise that I would never sign up for another math class. I promptly broke said promise by signing up for Geometry (which was required, btw) and cutting through it like a hot knife through butter.

So there I was trying to explain to my son that you certainly COULD figure out how high the flagpole was if you were given the length of it's shadow because it then became nothing more or less than a simple right triangle and could easily be figured out using the basic "a squared + b squared = c squared." There are two things all Geometry is based on. The aforementioned theorem and "pi x the radius, squared." These two basic rules cover angles and arcs. There's not much else to it.

My older one, the one with autism, had a wonderful advisor while he was in middle school. He claimed people who loved words liked Sondheim and people who loved music liked Rogers and Hammerstein. He had a point. He also said the visual people understood Geometry and anayltical people understood Algebra. Which, I guess, makes me visual. Because if you want to know what x to the 4th power divided by 5 is, well, frankly, I think you have bigger problems than I do. I suppose Werner Von Braun may have needed to know crap like that but I see no reason for the rest of us to be concerned with it. It will not help me balance my checkbook or argue interest rates with the guy named "Brian" who keeps calling me from Bangalore saying that my Visa card with the Bank of America has been written off and is now in his office. Except that I never HAD a Visa card with the Bank of America and this concept is something that "Brian" is having great difficulty understanding.

Like Algebra.

Well, anyway, graduation looms large and I'm both dreading it and anticipating it with unbound joy and excitement. Dreading it on purely practical matters. My youngest child graduating from college means that I'm pushing 60 like a freight train. Not looking foreward to THAT, although it can't be as bad as 50 was. Fifty was bad becuase I didn't think it would be any big deal and, several months into being 50 I discovered it wasn't something I liked much. But I dealt with it. I always do. Like I told the concerned executive last week as I was breathing into a paper bag "I'm okay. I'm always okay. Eventually." Apparently someone in my family was pragmatic. we remain without a car and three out of four of us have no steady employment, we will have to catch a bus for the college campus at 5:30 AM. Yep, AM. As in before dawn. Because the particular school within the college that my son is graduating from is having their ceremony at 8AM and we've been advised to arrive no later than 7 if we expect to sit down. Eight o'clock in the freaking morning. Outside. On the lawn. The treeless, mosquito infested lawn. Did I mention it's at 8 in the morning? In front of the only building on that campus that didn't fall down during the Northridge earthquake. I'm not sure WHAT that has to do with it, I just threw it in. Fun fact.

I'm taking my mind off the early hour ceremony by planning my wardrobe. See, everything has to revolve around confortable shoes, as I'm likely to be hiking in from a bus stop and there's the possibility I'll end up standing. On a wet lawn. Full of mosquitos and fleas. I have no doubt that there's some sort of biting bug network that has already sent out an alert that my ankles will be arriving at 7am, just in time for breakfast.

In my mind, I will look like a gamine somewhere on the beach in Cannes. In reality I'll probably look more like a manatee in a striped shirt. This, btw, is where my capacity to visualize comes in handy. It's okay though, it's not MY day, it's his. Not that he'll remember much of it, he'll be too tired and glad the whole four years is over and worrying about the next two years...yes, a graduate degree is coming too.

I will also be worrying about my in-laws and a) will they be coming? and b) how do I avoid them if they do? They're my kid's grandparents and I hope they come. And I will be nice and talk and pretend like nothing every happened and trust me, a LOT happened. Then I will take the next day off to recover from the gin induced headache I will have, because this will take a LOT of gin. Not only that, I will be sore from cleaning the damn apartment. Again. Because if I don't clean it they will not only show up and join us for lunch, they will come back with us for cake and champagne. If I go to a LOT of work cleaning and prepping they probably won't set foot in the urban village let alone my home. Which is kind of funny, because the urban village has, collectively, more money than GOD. Seriously. Bob Hope lived down the street from us. Sort of. Okay, it was six blocks. Andy Garcia shops at my Trader Joe's and Smokey Robinson has been seen at our corner liquor store. This is normally the kind of thing that impresses my step-MIL to no end. Of course, these are people who actually walk to Bob's Big Boy and Trader Joe's instead of being shuttled in there BMW's so it might not impress her at that.

Two weeks from this Tuesday this all goes down. Seventeen years of lost homework and PTA meetings and plays and lunch money and detention and forged signatures and calls from the boys vice principal all draw to a close on the 24th. Like algebra, I'm not quite sure how it all happened. I shall refrain from singing "Sunrise, Sunset" however. Selfishly, this is what I wanted to happen. He's grown up, and he still smiles. A LOT. The job may not have been well done, but it's the job I set out to accomplish and, for once in my squirrely life, I seem to have done so.

BTW, I also understand the Theory of Relativity. And, what's more, so do you. Now, explain to me why I'm working as a receptionist?

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