Now that the children have started Montessori, on the days that I am scheduled to work, if I don't have a meeting to attend, I will drop them off at school and find a coffee shop where I can sit and have a few quiet hours while sipping on a Chai tea.
Today, I am working out of a Starbucks across the street from a junior college. I'm listening to peaceful music, sipping on a hot drink and nibbling on a scone. As I'm reviewing a few reports and responding to e-mail, a woman and her teenager daughter come in and sit at the table next to me. The daughter breaks out her homework while the mother goes to get drinks for them.
How nice, I think. The mother is going to read a novel while her probably freshman-in-college daughter does some work. And then, because they are sitting directly next to me, I can't help but overhear their conversation.
The mother says, "Honey, I bought you something to eat, if you're hungry."
The daughter responds, "MOM. I'm NOT hungry. I'm trying to do my homework."
"Oh, OK. I just thought I'd let you know. If you get hungry, it's there for you."
"MOM. I just said I don't WANT it. This is SO hard. Why are they making my homework SO hard? All the girls in my biology class say that this is way too hard. It's NOT FAIR. I can't do it!"
The mother puts down her coffee and says, "Well, let me see if I can help you."
"No. You can't HELP me. You don't know anything about this, it's BIOLOGY. Uggggh. I HATE school. I HATE this class. This is so hard. These multiple choice questions are SO STUPID. Stupid, stupid, stupid. DUH this is stupid. I caaaaannnnn't doooooo itttttttt!!"
The mother puts down her book and offers a few words of encouragement.
The daughter asks, "What does it mean when a section is devoid of plants?"
The mother doesn't answer immediately, because it is clear she is pondering the question.
"WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN A SECTION IS DEVOID OF PLANTS?"
"MOM! WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN A SECTION IS DEVOID OF PLANTS?"
Finally she replies, "Well honey, it means that plants don't grow there."
The daughter asks, "Well, WHY? Is it because there is no sunlight or water? Is the hypothesis VALID? I need to KNOW IF THE HYPOTHESIS is VALID!"
"Sure, honey. If there is no sunlight or water, plants can't grow. Plants need sunlight and water to grow. Right?"
The daughter doesn't answer and instead pummels her mother with another question, "Where is my binder? WHERE IS MY BINDER? Did you forget to get my binder off the table at home?! OH MY GOD. YOU FORGOT MY BINDER. Didn't you?!"
The mother reaches in her bag and pulls out a binder. "No honey, I didn't forget it, it's right here." The daughter snatches the binder from her mother and then asks a few questions about cell structure, while nibbling on a muffin.
Her mother, who apparently is no longer as biologically ignorant as "Honey" once assumed, answers the questions before the daughter gets up to use the restroom. When she returns and sits down, she throws a fit because her mother has moved the table to accomodate her getting back in to the booth. "MOM. You moved the table TOO FAR OUT. Duh. How am I supposed to write with my the table FIVE FEET away from me?"
"Here honey, let me push it back towards you."
"Or better yet", I murmur, "Why not just push it OVER her."