When I was a little girl studying in a private school, our teachers used to ask us to bring all our books and notebooks to and from school every day. So I strapped on an extra large bag almost half my size. Before there was the fantasy character template of the pretty, goody two shoes, hunchbacked, provincial girl secretly carrying a sinister gremlin inside her hump that we seem to see so often on Philippine TV these days, there was me and my hump full of books. My mom says my gremlins were the reason why I shall forever be denied the chance to apply for jobs where 5’2” is a requirement.
My daughter doesn’t need to grow her own hump. Now, kids have Barbie and Batman on wheeled frames attached to handlebars to carry their books for them and make sure genes and not education are blamed exclusively for shortness.
When I was in high school, we stayed inside warm classrooms for nearly eight hours a day. Each classroom had a single ceiling fan. Each fan seemed to look browner every year. When our fan started to make weird noises, stories of students whose heads had been chopped off by the blades of a fallen fan started to circulate. That’s when asthma suddenly became a fad and a popular excuse to get permission to sit farthest from the fan.
My daughter goes to an air conditioned room where the only threat is the explosion of odor after twenty, small, sweaty bodies that had been out playing under the sun too long pile in. At least only the teacher has to get distracted. There are no thoughts of chopped heads to frighten the kids.
Yeah, my kid enjoys the comforts of wheeled contraptions and air conditioning. I hope that’ll mean she’ll learn a lot more to help her live better and wiser.
*Photo by Arvind Balaraman; www.freedigitalphotos.net