The Setting: A restaurant in New York City
- Parent- Resides is affluent suburb of New York City, which has a top rated school district. Mother of twins who are about to enter 7th grade. Twins have always attended public school, but after first year of middle school, parent did not like the education they were receiving and has enrolled them in private school. They will begin classes after labor day in new, expensive school.
- Me- I hope you know a little about me by now
- Father in Law
- The Husband
- The Daughter
- Husband of Parent
Players 3-6 are present, but for the purpose of this play, imagine them eating.
Parent- When I went to camp visiting day, I found out Twin Girl used audio book for her summer reading assignment. Isn’t that clever?
Me- She did what?
Parent– You know- audio book. She didn’t get to choose the book and she was really bored by it, so she got audio book.
Me– What….What….What book was it?
Parent- “The Outsiders”? I think that’s what it’s called.
Me- SE Hinton? The Daughter had to read it in 6th grade. Didn’t you read it when you were a kid? Pony Boy? It’s not a hard book. It’s actually a pretty good book.
Parent– Is that the movie with Matt Dillon and Rob Lowe?
Me- Well, yeah- the movie.
Parent– Oh maybe she should watch that when she gets home (types what is assumed to be a reminder into her phone) But don’t you think it was smart of her? I couldn’t think of a good reason why she shouldn’t listen to the book. Because she didn’t get to choose it. Her other summer reading book was fine. She didn’t need audio book, because she got to choose it. She wasn’t bored by it.
Me- Ummm- she probably should start, you know, actually reading things. Because she’s going to get assigned reading as the grades go up, and really, she needs to like look at the words on the page and…you know understand them, because what’s going to happen…..
The Protagonist (or antagonist- you choose) turns to the audience:
Me: WTF? She was bored? She didn’t get to choose? You’re putting her in private school because she wasn’t being educated? It’s school. It’s about education. Part of education is learning about things you don’t know. Wait- isn’t that the definition of education- to learn about things you don’t know? How are you supposed to grow as a person if you never go out of your comfort zone? If you want to read something of your choosing, read in your free time instead of playing on your phone, with snap and insta and whatever other app is out there. Sometimes we are bored. So what. Is there a job that is exciting every minute of every day? Why is our society so fixated on not being bored? And listening, while sometimes a lost art, is not the same thing as reading. It’s just not. Nor is watching the movie. The object is to look at the words on a page. Visualize what the author is saying- get the mental picture. Look at the words- the structure- the punctuation. These are a fiction writers tools- these are the things you need to look at. It’s why it’s assigned. And…speaking of…the teacher gave an assignment in good faith. They are expecting you to read the book. What gives anyone the right to not listen to a teacher when the teacher has realistic goals of a student? I’m going out on a limb and saying that reading a book is a realistic goal. And how can you, as a parent, say to me “Isn’t that clever?” No. It’s not clever. Clever is writing a book. Clever is inventing something. Clever is creating an awesome science fair experiment. Using audio book is not clever. It’s lazy. AND….let’s not forget my favorite statement: “I didn’t see anything wrong with it.” REALLY? REALLY? How about, there is not one thing about her using audio book that is right. Nothing. She has perfect vision- there is no impairment. She knows how to read. (I assume this because she does use snapchat- so there is some proof that she knows the alphabet and that letters put together form words, and word form sentences….wait- I’m actually not sure if she knows that, as she usually speaks emoji) How can you say she wasn’t getting a good education at the public school? Does she know about work ethic? Does she understand giving 100%? Does she understand that you need to learn things in stages? That education is starting with a base layer, and then adding, and adding and adding? That reading a book is about completing a task? And if she thinks “The Outsiders” is boring- what is she going to think about some other classic works of literature?
The Protagonist turns away from the audience, and looks back at the parent:
Me– When do the kids get home from camp?