Mom and dad's event-filled first day of school

Raymond Chen

I dreamed that my wife and I had dropped our daughter off at her new school for the first time, and I made a wrong turn and ended up going the wrong way. We got off at an exit for highway I-5, and the on-ramp turned into a two-lane highway hundreds of feet in the sky. To keep people from going too fast, the road rolled back and forth: First it tilted to the right, then to the left, and so on. (Imagine your hand making the “so-so” gesture.) You just had to drive carefully. The road dead-ended at a building, so we parked the car and got out. It was a tiny gift shop with puppets and marionettes. The attendant came out and thanked us for volunteering at the North Bend library. We watched a women’s doubles volleyball match between a US and Chinese team. Two players per side, playing on a volleyball net stretched across a basketball court. The US narrowly won the first set, but dominated the second, and the Chinese pair stopped trying. Serves fell laughably short of the net or sailed wildly out of bounds. (Even worse than those badminton players trying to lose.) After the match, there was a group photo of the two delegations. There was a traditional photo, and then a Harlem Shake photo. Conspiracy theorists would later analyze the two photos for clues to the political climate between the two countries. After the match, there was a discussion of organic farming techniques, like “How much radiation does a chicken give off when it is sitting on a fence as opposed to on the ground?”, and then it was time to go home. While my wife went to sign out of our volunteer duties, I unlocked the safe that had the control panel for our car and started loading our things for the drive home.

I hope my daughter enjoyed her first day at school.


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