Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Silence, Tornado, Ferret

I learned many things in elementary school. I hope you did, too. One of the biggest, most important things I learned was how to be silent. I could talk when I raised my hand if the teacher called on me, during recess, and during lunch. Even recess and lunch were dependent on behavior and became silent before really ending.

Today, we had a tornado drill here at Indiana University. Elementary school never really ends. As I begrudgingly shuffled into the hall, not missing out on class like in the good old days, but on valuable homework time, I thought of all of the reasons we wouldn’t be safe if there was a real tornado:

1.       The glass door a few yards to my left
2.       The open doors of the classrooms with windows
3.       The fact that tornadoes pretty much do what they want anyways
4.       We were all chatting

Wait, I and you say simultaneously. Talking is not particularly dangerous during a tornado. Indeed. Who would have thought? Elementary school so deeply ingrained in me the habit of silence. Some of those habits I have long since broken. Though in middle school I initially felt guilty speaking aloud in bathrooms or hallways during passing periods, I have come to terms with those arenas of speech.
The tornado drill is going to take a little time.

When I re-entered the computer lab, seated across from me was a young man. This happens, as this particular computer lab is a hoppin’ place during the school day. However, this specific young man had a ferret pelt sprawled next to his keyboard with its dead eyes pointed at me (to say nothing of this kid’s hat). This does not happen. Or so I thought. But, alas, it does.

Please, you tell me, how you sit down and you read a Spanish article on violence (the 10 millionth this semester) with a ferret pelt staring at you. I did not even ask him about it, which is a big personal regret of mine, because I have SO MANY questions.

What is that? Where did you get it? Why did you bring it to school? May I smell it? Can I pet it? Did you name it? Him? Her? (Sorry. I couldn’t tell.) Did you know it in its real life days? Do you get asked about it often? Do you get weird looks? Do you useful bring your friend around with you or is today a special occasion? Do you consider your behavior strange? Have you ever met anyone else who does this?

But there I was, so wrapped up in essay planning and article reading that I just tried to avoid the poor ferret’s ceaseless gaze. The moral of the story is twofold: 1. Silence is a lame defense against natural disasters and 2. Never be so wrapped up in your homework and societal norms that you neglect to ask an unmet friend about his dead ferret.

Love to you and your kin,

Jenna B.

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