Ah, yes. The Alien.
Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has a new student this year. She is neither fish nor fowl. Whereas Mrs. Hillbilly Mom teaches freshmen and juniors, this new student is a sophomore. Some schools do not sequence their science in the same manner as Newmentia. So when a transfer comes in, they are sometimes forced into a junior-level class as freshmen, or, like the new kid, dropped into a freshman-level class as sophomores. She’s taking it well.
“Wait. You mean to tell me that now I’m the oldest one in this class?”
“Well, if you just mean students…yes.”
“It’s like this in one of my other classes, too. And do you know what the kids say? ‘Respect your elder!’ They really think they’re funny. It IS kind of funny.”
We have been studying space since the start of the school year. Yesterday’s lesson involved dark energy, an invisible repulsive force that shoves galaxies into certain parts of the universe, and leaves other parts full of nothing.
“That’s where the aliens live! The government knows, but they won’t tell us.” Let the record show that this gal has a good sense of humor, and does not sidetrack the lesson. During time while waiting for the projector to warm up, she shared her opinion. Other opinions over the past few weeks have involved her belief that we never landed on the moon, and that Katie Perry sold her soul to the devil. She’s like a little conspiracy theorist, but not.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are other things the government doesn’t tell us. For our own good, of course.”
“I’M an alien! Bet you didn’t know that.”
“And imagine, the government is letting you go around telling us! I should have let YOU teach this unit, since you have first-hand knowledge.”
“Yeah. I could totally have done that.”
After the video on astronomy, The Alien asked to get a drink. She’s never asked before. So I agreed. I told her what I tell every kid who gets called to the office, or has a need to leave the room: “Make sure you fix the door so you’re not locked out.” Fixing the door can be accomplished two ways, with the doorstop inserted between door and jamb, or by letting the door rest gently against the jamb without latching.
The Alien said, "Okay." Like many of the outgoing students do, just before flinging the door open and walking through, leaving it to close heavily and lock them out. I guess those articles about today's youth and short-term memory are pretty accurate.
The Alien turned to look at us through the vertical rectangle of criss-crossed safety glass. The expression on her face was much like that of Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone, just after he slapped some of his dad’s shaving lotion on his cheeks. She tapped on the glass. We waved. She made a sad face. We smiled and waved. She tapped on the glass with a finger that might have a glowing tip, if she’s related to ET. We waved. After she pantomimed falling tears, I told the kid closest to the door to let The Alien back inside.
“Huh. I guess people on your planet are not familiar with the simple machine called an inclined plane. The one that we on Earth refer to as a doorstop.”
“I tried to keep it from closing! Didn’t I?” The class gave her affirmation.
“And yet your civilization has not advanced to the point that they can leave a room without locking themselves out!”
“Oh. This is terrible. I wish my mommy was here. But she’s at work.”
“Why do you want your mom? What is she, a tester at the doorstop factory?”
“I guess you’d better leave working with this Earth stuff to us humans. We’ll try to protect you from yourself.”
Still, The Alien has a good head on her shoulders. She devised an experiment to test my classroom light motion sensor, carried it out, and declared it a success over a two-day period.
Of course, it left the rest of us in the dark, just like she was. She may be craftier than I thought.