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I have five minutes before I leave for the dentist, where I will be scrupulously honest about exactly how often I floss, so this is going to be what the young 'uns call a microblog. I just wanted to record a few recent observations about life at Hippie Do As You Please School.

  1. Charlie is learning to weld. A parent brings in, I don't know, a travel forge or something, sets it up in a convenient alcove, and...teaches kids to weld. On welding days Charlie comes home incandescent with happiness, full of stories of what thing he welded to what other thing. (The stories...are kind of short: Rod, rod. Bolt, plate. Piece of metal, other piece of metal. But wait! There's a twist! It's two different kinds of metal. Cue dramatic tension, optional shriek of horror. And there...on the door...was a hook. WELDED TO IT!) Now, he may not be learning his times tables, which fact is where any remaining unease I have about HDAYPS seats itself, but I guess that'll be okay. Whenever he needs to combine large sets of numbers, I'll just suggest a big blob of solder.

  2. The other day I picked him up early at school to go get a flu shot. (Outrage! "The nurse hurt me instead of healing me! How is that even allowed?!" Yes! She did! And what's more, she hurt you because I asked her to.) I came in while the kids were reading — some stretched out on the floor, one draped odalisqueishly across an armchair, one improbably contorted, like, I did not know joints worked that way; perhaps they need re-welding. All were quiet and absorbed. I don't know, I guess I don't have a point, except that it's such a small thing to let a kid get comfortable to do his work. It's such a low-stakes trade-off, you know?

    (...Charlie was sitting upright at a desk, as nice as any public school pleases, as perverse as his mama made him.)

  3. As Charlie was packing up his things, having cleaned out his art cubby earlier that day, his teacher approached holding a tiny slip of paper, maybe a half inch wide and an inch long — tiny. The tiniest scrap, but covered with pencilled writing. She showed him and asked, "Is this important? I think it fell out of your cubby." And it wasn't, but it could have been, and she cared enough to check.

(Okay, so I didn't, in fact, finish this before I went to the dentist, but now you can read this post through a cloud of minty freshness. "You have great teeth," the dentist told me. "And gums, too," said the hygienist. "It's because deep down I'm a very good person," I modestly explained. And then they both laughed, like they thought I might be less than scrupulously honest.)