This morning I got up around ten. It took me until eleven to get out of bed. I exhausted myself sitting up late writing all that about NotBoyAnymore last night. Thanks to anyone who read it and sent me some feedback. Also, thanks for all the condolences about Writer Guy. He came over and we talked yesterday and it's really not me. It's really him. And we both know it. And I am okay with that. I can accept it. I think we'll be fabulous friends once we gather some distance from time.
My mother called around eleven thirty. She wanted to meet in Midway. So, I got dressed in my Snoopy sweater and kahakis and long underwear and gym shoes and off to Midway I went. Finding Main Street in Midway was just as easy as she said it would be.
Downtown Midway is the cutest! It's only like a dozen little businesses, but I think I could spend an eon there. I didn't get to though cause Mom made it about fifteen minutes after I'd arrived. And then it was off to Frankfort for a day of exercising our first amendment rights with twenty-one thousand other folks who wanted to send a clear message to the legislature that if the state's motto is "Education Pays!", we ought to be willing to pay for education.
My sign read "If you can read this, go thank a teacher." Mom's said "Full Funding For All Day Kindergarten, TODAY". There were lots related to the affordability of the health insurance. My favorites included "Hoo Kneads Skool NEWay", "I teach, therefore I moonlight", some key shaped ones that said "SCHOOL FUNDING: The KEY to Kentucky's Future". There were some nice ones about paying for eduation today so we don't have to pay for it later with jails and welfare.
The children with signs. Oh the children! "My school can't afford my teacher. I need my teacher. Don't make her go away." with a little handdrawn picture of the teacher in the corner. "When does my mind count for something?". They were enough to make you misty eyed.
We saw the superintendent of the public school system I had attended. I went over and thanked him. I also mentioned that since the town has a 3% tax on utilities and is getting maximum test score based funding and is about to raise some other tax for the schools, that it was nice of him to show his support for all those other systems that don't have the citezin support that his does. After he told me how it was a crisis that of the 200some school systems in the state, they could no longer afford to keep their teachers' pay in the top ten statewide. Way to only look out for yourself there, buddy. Most school districts are laying people off.
I know though that I shouldn't be bitter that he wants to superintend the best schools with the best teachers that he can. I shouldn't be upset at someone who wants to pay teachers as much as he possibly can. Closer to what they're worth. I know. And I really did sincerely thank him.
They're talking about cutting the education budget by at least six percent next year, across the board. The state has no money, they're letting prisoners out early even because we can't afford to imprison all our felons for quite as long as judges decided they needed to be imprisoned. I know. There's no money. But the thing is, education in Kentucky can't afford to lose anything else. Period.
So we rallied. And we chanted. And we marched. Okay, and Mom and I snuck inside and toured the capital building for a little while when some guy who had tried to have her fired at some point was speaking.
I really hope we sent a clear message to them.
After the rally, Mom and I got coffee at this coffeehouse downtown where Waste and I actually went once. It was nice. We sat, we chatted. She's been teaching the sex-ed stuff with the sixth graders at her school. Apparently the boys were way more grateful for the information than the girls. I reminded her that her own girls had the full scoop on periods and sex by the end of fourth grade and one of them even had some experience with the former by then (I was nine. Yes, nine. And no, I don't think that's what stunted my boob growth)
"Those boys were so excited to have someone answer their questions. They asked about the silliest things. Threesomes and nipple erections and stuff."
"When I visited you at work, it sounded like you had just told them that smoking causes impotence."
"And masturbation will make you blind too right?"
"They actually asked me how often it was normal to masturbate. It was the only question I didn't know the answer to."
"What did you tell them?"
"That if they were doing it more than once a day that might be too much. But I really don't know. Do you know?"
"Once a day, even on weekends?"
"Well, they're twelve. They've got nothing better to do all Saturday. I understand it's the most fascinating thing they've managed to accomplish in their short lives."
"It's my understanding that those young teen boys... well, I'd guess... um. as often as they shower would be about right. Maybe a little more."
"Well, I told them that once a week was probably normal."
"MOM! You gave them complexes"
"No I didn't."
"MOM! Once a week? Maybe for twelve year old girls still dealing with some 'I can't touch myself shame'. But the boys? Once a week!?! I think you're really confused."
"I'll have to ask my fiance"
"About his masturbation habits as a twelve year old Catholic boy thirty-five years ago? I think masturbation has come a long way since then."
"Good point. I'll ask Mr. Somebodyorother. Oh, now I have a new question to ask all the men I know."
And she will too. And I will too. I am. Right now. I want to know, seriously, how often should my mother tell the sixth grade boys at her public elementary school that it is normal to masturbate? E mail me. I'm so serious about this. You can come through for me here. These boys have the right to accurate information.
We also giggled about the prospect of being Shelly's poor boyfriend. Because see, Shelly needs human contact. Shelly is a social, social creature. She demands attention. She's the baby. Shelly also, well, she and Mom can't sit still. They have to be doing something all the time. And she doesn't have a job. And she doesn't have any friends yet in Sacremento. Her boyfriend works fifteen to eighteen hours a day. Shelly says living together is putting a strain on their relationship. I can only imagine what it must be to come home every single day from fifteen hours of trying to rally the poor into action to Shelly's need for attention must be like.
"Look, I made these curtains, and then I took apart and resewed my entire wardrobe by hand. Look! LOOK! I'm trying to show you this! I'm so happy that you're home. Look at me! I'm doing my happy dance. Just for you. Because you came home. WATCH ME DANCE! Oh and here, try these cookies, they're vegan oatmeal. Then I made some sugar cookies and eat the cookie. No, eat the cookie. EAT THE COOKIE, I made it for you. I'm so glad you're home. I made dinner and we need to eat it and then I'll show you the eighty-five pictures I charcoaled today on the bedroom walls. I'm going to scrub them tomorrow. I thought that was a great idea! See, I spent like an hour making all those pictures and then tomorrow I can spend three hours cleaning them. Aren't they neat? No, really look at them. Aren't they neat! I also rode my bike all over town today and I saw the most fun place and we totally need to go there after dinner and don't you want to go biking with me? Oh and look at these eight necklaces I made out of the lint from the dryer while I was waiting for the cookies to be done. I made this one just for you. Put it on. Aren't you excited! Isn't it fun! Aren't you excited. Look at it. It's fun! I'm so glad you're home. I think I'll sing about it.. [insert a long song and dance number about him being home here. No really.]... Oh and I need you to spend at least an hour trying to decide what I should wear when we go out. I'm so glad you're home!"
I can still remember what hell there was when she was four. I went away for half a day of kindergarten everyday. Previously, for her entire life, I don't think we'd ever been seperated. Not even for like an hour. Honestly. I don't think we'd ever even spent much quality time in seperate rooms of the house. I was her audience. I was the big sister who spoiled her rotten and indulged her every whim. And from what I understand, entertaining her while I was gone was like a full time job. She couldn't go to daycare. She was too much for the teachers to handle with other children around. I can only imagine what her poor boyfriend is going through...
She finally got a job at a coffee house. She's working until one most days and then she has her afternoons free to join in whatever is going on at the capital there in Sacremento. Meanwhile, she's desperately seeking a job that might possibly begin to fulfill her intense need to be around people all the time...
It was a good day. I hope that our message will be received well in Frankfort...