The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Thursday, December 01, 2011

My phone buzzes during poetry class. The plumber is coming, and I can't afford to miss his text. I blush, and check the phone as surreptitiously as I can, which is to say, in full glaring adolescent spotlight.
I fumble with a heavy nokia brick, barely functional, but still only 6 years into its shelf life. (I have moved from early adopter to late adopter as I age gracefully, and 7 years is about right for a phone. In a year, I will be able to consider a smartphone. Right now, a coloured screen is still a luxury too far.)
Jordan looks bemused. "Switch it off," orders Shannon, "switch it off and give us the battery. It's against the rules."
I actually am trying to switch it off, but ancient nokia bricks must be cajoled, not ordered. They don't perform just any old function you require, you know, they need to be sweet talked and pressured into it. This one doesn't 'do' voicemail, and will only tolerate one 4 minute call per day before it flounces into unresponsive inertia.

The phone is finally deadened. I point back at the jazz style poem with a half chewed pen. Jordan is not fooled.
"Is everything you own old fashioned, Miss?" he says, and I see myself through his eyes, suddenly. Ancient, out of touch, not possessed of an iphone. I wonder if he can imagine a world where we write only with pens, where screens don't respond to your finger. And why should he? Do I imagine the black and white tvs of my parents' era?

It only takes the image of my car - a battered white fiat, sixteen years this summer, with too many holes in its oil tank to live for much longer - to convince me of my new role, as the old bint of the classroom.
"Yes, I suppose it is."