Monday, March 1, 2004

One Fell Off and Bumped His Head

In a coffee shop this morning, I waited patiently while the Fordists (hey, it's a Ford, where else am I going to take it) tapped and prodded my vehicle, changing out the oil and detailing it through a DMV inspection. Need to renew the tags, and someone with authority and license has to sign the paper affirming everything (except the driver) is road safe. Torn wiper blades and a burnt-out tail light. WTF! You'd be sick on my behalf if I told you how much they charged. I had to have the inspection--today.

But I was at a coffee shop walking distance from the car shop. I was sipping on some exotic, way-too-strong coffee. You know the kind that's so potent it makes your tongue feel dry? That's the kind of coffee I was drinking. Empty place, since it's Monday morning, eight o'clock. I was reading Scholes. Chapter four: A Flock of Cultures. All about the etymology of canon and Hegel's brand of history and problems with Great Books and conceptions of Western Civilization. It turns to suggestions for curricular design, and I've been meaning all day to write about it, to expand the few notes I scribbled down. Maybe tomorrow.

It was an empty place, but a dad and his young daughter (guessing at the relationships) took seats at the table next to me. The girl was two-ish, chiming through songs (like the one about a crowd of monkeys jumping on the bed--see entry title). The dad was fumbling with a huge brownie (breakfast?), dividing it into adult and child-sized portions. Now that I'm writing this, I can't remember exactly why I thought this was relevant to Scholes, to my day, the oil change, or you.

So I think it was the daughter's sense of unfairness in the brownie apportionment. She was really young, but she knew immediately that her dad was eating the bigger piece of the brownie. She kept asking him, "Da, why you eating da big one?" And he tried to answer, "Because I'm hungry." And she asked again. He tried a different answer, "Because it is yummy." She kept asking. Geez. So I was eavesdropping, but they were only four feet away, and I was still reading Scholes with most of my attention. Her curiosity was incredibly persistent, and it became more emphatic on the word "big." "Da, why you eating da big one?" He didn't say, "Because I'm big, too." You know, spatial relationships, proximity, size: early (and lasting) understandings of social justice.

Bookmark and Share Posted by at March 1, 2004 11:27 PM to Slouching Toward