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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Ronin Teacher

I went back to the birthday party later this evening. My former next door neighbors, the family who moved in after Mr. Married moved out, were still there. Eddie and Xochitl were happy to hang out some more. Eddie asked me if I knew how big infinity was, so we started talking about numbers.

A while ago, I was telling a teacher friend of mine about my life here in Back of the Yards and he said to me, "You're a ronin teacher." I realized that was exactly right. In the days of the samurai, ronin were soldiers beholden to no lord. Nowadays they are martial arts students in search of a school. I'm a teacher without a school or a principal, so in that sense I am ronin, too.

So I just go around doing my thing when the teachable moment appears, as it did tonight with Eddie and big, big numbers. We talked about infinity and the symbol for infinity, we talked about how infinity was bigger than a million, a billion, a trillion and a quadrillion. (I doubt the place order lesson stuck--we went from hundreds up, but it might have cleared up whether a thousand was bigger than a million for five minutes. That one is tough because thousand is mil in Spanish.)

I asked Eddie if his teacher had mentioned a googol and he said no. So I told him he should go to school tomorrow and ask his teacher, "How big is a googol?" I made Xochtil promise she would check up on whether he did it or not, and made them both repeat the question. I gave them high fives when they pronouced googol right.

I had some tequila with the girls: Adriana, Marisa and Eddie's mom. At least I think I was having tequila--it seemed fairly mild, Gallo Something, it had agave and it was from Jalisco, but on three shots I should be wicked wasted and I'm not, so I'm not sure what I was drinking. Xochitl and Eddie were collecting the pop tops off of beer cans for something at school. They had a large collection by the end of the night.

At the end Julian put on some music and said "We're going to dance," but Daya and Angelito and I were the only people out on the floor. Angel was fussy so I took him from Adriana and went dancing with him a little. He quieted down. I think he had the hiccups. Daya showed off her moves.

As I was leaving, Adriana said "Until 20-what?"

"Twenty-five," I answered. They are fired up to host my birthday next month.

I pulled out my favorite old joke and said I'm the old lady, turning 40. The one person left I didn't know said he is 40. Julian told me "it's like tequila, you just get better." Good attitude!

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