Remains or Randoms of the Day

14 Mar

Each day that I can I walk my dog Charlie. We walk in the same park and I usually walk with the same people informally known as the dog group: Will, Claire, David, Chris, Jennifer, D, Tom. Every now and then I run into someone I know who is not a park regular. Yesterday was such a day.
I ran in to two women I know at separate points in the walk and had rambling conversations with each of them. When I reflected on the confabs later in the day, I realized that this activity takes up a large part of my life. IMG_0271

It was earlier than my usual time, around 8 when I ran in to the mother of one of Ford’s friends, let’s call her Red. She and I had gotten very friendly during baseball season last year, which runs from early April until the end of July. You can become best friends if you go to every game, twice a week (sometimes three) and sit there gabbing for two-hour stretches. I was happy to run in to her–we’d had great chats during those games. This time, in the course of 15 minutes we covered:

Her move to a new New York apartment (she’s bi-tri-state), Alzheimer’s, Botox, the work required to remain somewhat attractive as you inch through your 50s and ADD, both in adolescents and menopausal women. The big question: What to do when ADD shows up in a kid who is mid-way through high school.

An explanation for those outside this crowded corridor of parents: If your child is diagnosed with ADD accommodations are made. A big one is more time on standardized tests. The caveat is that the kid needs to have been diagnosed before high school.
It’s generally understood that the administrators of the SAT, ACT are on the lookout for parents who try to game the system by having post-pubescent Brad or Bonifa diagnosed, presumably to get a higher score with the extra hours.

Now Red, who says she’s extremely ADD, has a son who is but probably won’t get helped because he’s almost done with high school. What to do? I wish I had an answer for her, and oftentimes, on our dog walks, all kinds of problems are solved.

The other woman, has daughters. One is a star athlete on her way to an Ivy on the school’s dime, the other one struggles with reading. I gave the mom the number of an optometrist, who can tell her if her child has dyslexia, something I know a fair amount about.

As we were parting ways, with a look of profound relief, she thanked me and said over her shoulder: “how’d we even get to that?”

An hour later I was in my car driving to the college where I teach writing. I was listening to A Tribe Called Quest, Check the Rhime. My music was thumping as I pulled into a parking lot on the campus tucked in bucolic farmland in northwestern New Jersey. I thought about the image of me, referred to as professor, turning off my car as Q-Tip’s voice faded away.

I think about a bit from a Chris Rock standup. He said, “I like the Wu Tang Gang and Seinfeld.”

I like NPR and Biggie Smalls and Downton Abby and A Tribe Called Quest. I also like having conversations that have all kinds of range.


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