Thursday, November 12, 2009

Interspecies Communication

We have a raccoon living under the eaves of our carport.

The carport shares a common wall with our laundry area, and two of our indoor cats have taken to patrolling that wall, shoving laundry products aside to sit on the shelf and listen, occasionally tapping at the wall with their paws.

I have yet to hear the raccoon tap back.  Perhaps he or she only does so in the wee small hours, since everyone knows that's the best time to send messages to the other side.

It's a very big raccoon, by the way.  It makes me a little nervous to know it's living in the eaves of my carport.

* * *

Speaking of sending messages to the other side, here's one I'd like to send: "Is there another planet where all the sane people are?"

Item: On a day set aside for Remembrance, members of our illustrious Congress refused to debate a particular Veterans health care bill because the means by which it will be paid haven't been specified. Never mind that the bills approving the wars in which those veterans serve never seem to come with a "how will this be paid?" clause.

Notice this is not about arguing the merits of the bill.  Maybe it's a terrible bill.  Maybe it won't do what it's supporters claim it will do. (And what a surprise that would be.)  But how will we know?  They're refusing to debate the thing at all.

Here's another question I'd like to send to the other side: Why do I have to pay these guys' salaries?

* * *

While we're on the subject of inter-species communication, I hung out with some schooly people last night, my first real socializing since Dragonstar and I returned last week from ARGH. The occasion was a new book group.  I've never belonged to a book group.  But there was the promise of wine and tasty things to eat, so I figured what the hell.

All of the participants are artists, but aside from that they're all fairly mainstream people, so in between suggestions for things to read, there was a lot of schooly talk about high school sons and daughters and school discipline and extracurricular this and college-prep that.

When my turn came to say something, I talked a bit about unschooling and the ARGH gathering.  It was not exactly the conversation spark I'd hope it would be.

Now, I've known most of these women for awhile and I know damn well they don't know what to make of me and this whole unschooling thing.  But this is the midwest, and people here are generally polite. Which means they nod in all the right places, and wait until you leave the room to say what they really think.

So they all nodded when I talked of being among our tribe for a few glorious days, of kids moving freely through the campsite, dressed in all their wild unschooly finery, of people grabbing their neighbors for an impromptu porch-sit or a shared meal. I mentioned the sweetness of wandering along the shaded paths among the cabins, feeling satisfied and peaceful and at home.

And then I stopped talking.  And the room got very quiet.

And finally someone praised the hummus.  And that was that.

I like my fellow artists here.  They're vibrant women -- to a one.  But especially coming on the heels of ARGH, it's not nearly as fun to hang out with people when I'm the only unschooler in the room.

I was thinking that it might be too self-serving to suggest we read my unschooling manifesto, but maybe the group can tackle Grace Llewellyn's Teenage Liberation Handbook.

It might get them talking, anyway


  1. This post made me smile in so many ways for so many reasons. Thanks for writing, Peggy. I'll try to keep reading.


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