October 12, 2005

Pie Are Round. Duh.


Queenie is right. I am not very good at standardization. However, I have given it a pretty good shot. Yes, I have spent 2 hours a day at least for the past month preparing, trying to become as standard as possible.

And let me tell you, I am ready to be abnormal again!

Irony is the most sophisticated form of humor. Chopin must have been a hopeless romantic to have written those waltzes. I adore green velvet shoes. Art does not have to be lifelike to be good-- God instructed the priests to embroider blue pomegranates on their robes, when He knew good and well that pomegranates are red (He made them that way after all!). Flannery O'Connor was the most courageous writer of modern times-- so violent she offended Christians, so Christian she offended atheists. Our church needs to learn to sing the hymn 'Christ is the Treasure I Desire.'

Sorry, the un-standard part of me is trying to catch up. I've got such high levels of built-up, residual abnormality that I'm to the point of going to Target in dress-up clothes.

Hey-- that does sound like fun. Hmm...

My mind is full of The Essential Body of Knowledge for a Regulation Standardized Life. Misplaced modifiers, powers of negatives, out of scope answer choices, pronoun agreement, 90-60-30 triangles, pi, inference-- it reminds me of one of my grandfather's stories. It goes like this: Once there was an old simple farmer whose son went off to college. When the son came back after his first semester, the farmer (who was skeptical about all this high-falutin' learning) asked him what he had learned in that thar school. And the son said, "Well, I learned Pi r2" (pronounced 'pi R square'). The farmer hooted. "I told you them big city professors didn't know nothing! Why, everyone knows that pie are round!"

On Monday I was sitting in our front yard, enjoying the cool weather and gulping down as much geometry as I could in the least possible amount of time, when our twelve-year-old neighbor walked by.

"So, like, what are you doing?" quoth she.
"Studying for the PSAT-- it's day after tomorrow," quoth me.
"Wow," she said, in a reflective sort of way. "Harsh."

Girl, you are like, so totally right. It's like, I mean, go figure! What's with this anyway? Puleeese. Whatever.

Yesterday, after declaring before dinner that that was quite enough studying, thank you, and if I didn't know it by then it wasn't going to help me on the test, we had the great Turkey-Sacred Harp-Yoga fest already described, and I enjoyed a night of profound, Turkey-Sacred Harp-Yoga-induced sleep. Then today dawned. Well, actually, at the point in time that today began for me, it hadn't dawned. So scratch that. Today happened. I got up early, ate some Aunt Joy's Breakfast Casserole (miraculous stuff!) and then Great Scot took me to the Christian school where I was to take the test.

I was escorted to the room by a kindly lady in a sweater, where I read the Shakespeare's Sonnets poster until the other students came in. They were in pajamas. Yes, pajamas. The kindly lady told me it was some sort of a team week, homecoming or something, I forget, and that pajamas were the traditional attire. It was prime people-watching. You can learn a lot about people by their pajamas.

The whole experience was fascinating. I had not been in a school since my preschool days, and I found myself deeply regretting that I had to spend this fantastic opportunity for observing human nature filling in ovals. But I did manage to watch and listen quite a bit. It was all very interesting-- school, even a good school like this one, has such an effect on people. After watching and listening all morning, I think it makes people more frivolous-- physically, verbally, emotionally, intellectually. The effect of being around your peers too much, and older people not enough. Older people are a refining force, like a fuller's furnace. There was also more noise and boisterous behavior than I am used to-- I realized that I have a quiet life, in terms of the volume of sound I hear day in and day out.

A man in a nice corduroy jacket came in. He was very helpful. He made sure I knew the school address, and all the right codes, and what to fill in on the questions about my school in the part of the test where you answer such questions about yourself. He administered the test. Which is a phrase I hate, so I don't know why I used it. Administered-- it sounds so medicinal. I'll say he gave us the test, a much nicer thing to say-- it makes the whole thing sound like a gift, which is just right. Knowledge, intelligence, and the people who help you attain them are all gifts from God.

When the helpful man read the instructions for the Math section, a girl towards the back raised her hand.

"Excuse me, but are we, like, allowed to use our calculators?"
The man grimaced and answered in the affirmative. He had already said that calculators were allowed several times.
"So, are we, like, allowed to write in our books?"
Another grimace. He had explained this too. "You can write everything out in your test booklet. Use it as scratch paper."
"So then, like, we can't use our heads?"

No need to worry, dear. You aren't anyway.

After the math section we had a short break. The helpful man read from the instructions that we could get a drink, go to the bathroom, and stretch, but we were not to talk about the test. I followed a herd of pajama'd girls to the restroom. The minute the door was shut, one of them said, "Not talk about the test? Ha!" and they proceeded to talk about it very loudly and rapidly. I gathered that they could understand each other. I couldn't-- it seems that not only is the sound at our house lower in volume, it is also significantly lower in speed and frequency.

When the break was over, we went back in and did the second half of the test. After the last oval was filled and all the tests were turned in, the other students stayed in the room until the next class. The helpful man let me go early.

So here I am, home again, home again, jiggity jog, and ready for whatever abnormality comes first to mind. Ready to forget about the test until I get my score in December. Thankful to the Lord for keeping me under His care. Thankful for all the lovely people who prayed for me. Grateful to my family for accommodating and helping me during this.

And oh-so-happy to be back in the land where pies are round.


Anonymous said...

I am so very glad it went well, dear cousin!

I absolutely adored reading your vivid and humerous account of your day!

I knew you would do well!

TheHeadGirl said...

"Excuse me, but are we, like allowed to use our calculators?"
The man grimaced and answered in the affirmative. He had already said that calculators were allowed several times.
"So, are we, like, allowed to write in our books?"
Another grimace. He had explained this too. "You can write everything out in your test booklet. Use it as scratch paper."
"So, then like, we can't use our heads?"

oh, dear.
Darling, if you go on to college (which I'm guessing you will be considering the fact you weren't just taking this test for the fun of it) please be prepared to run into many other such conversations. The art of listening has not been cultivated in school institutions, methinks. It's depressing and annoying to be in a classroom hearing the same basic questions asked repeatedly. I have a friend who brings crossword puzzles to class for moments like these. It is tempting, I suppose.
Also be prepared for students who do exactly the opposite of what the teacher has instructed and then protest that they did not hear or understand. Or they arrive half an hour late for class and expect everyone else to wait while they get personal attention from the teacher.

Not that I've grown cynical or anything...just more thankful for my homeschooling. :)

Lynn Bruce said...


that's my girl.

Leslie Noelani Laurio said...

"A man in a nice corduroy jacket came in."

I hope this wasn't his pajamas??

X said...

Glad you survived. Ready for the ACT? Pray you don't have to take it. It is much more worse to put it in a grammatically way.

ithchick said...

I found the ACT easier.

X said...

I hated the ACT. It was the worst thing ever.

Robert M. Lindsey said...

My wife sometimes "gives" various tests like this. It pays fairly well. She doesn't wear corduroy.

Patricia said...

That was priceless! I can't wait to share it with my daughter. Blessings in Christ ~ Patricia