A boat with wheels rolled up to my group, blocking our path. We raised our guns, which looked more like bad-ass potato launchers, than anything that could shoot to kill. There were six people in this boat, the dust from their screeching halt wafting over all of us.
It was the end of the world. Some plague had killed off the entire human species, except, in the last few days, after being chased from our compound by other humans, we were meeting more groups of humans all over the place. The world was getting smaller and smaller, sometimes dangerous, most of the time, weird as hell.
“Let’s take a vote. Should we kill them or not,” the beady-eyed gentleman, who appeared to be the mouthpiece of the group said, around a toothpick he was moving side to side with his tongue.
A little boy, not more than five-years-old, spoke up, looking straight at me, “I like him. I don’t want them killed.”
“Neither do I. We can’t be killing people. We need to work together,” an old man, missing half his teeth, grumbled, in a cowed sort of way.
One by one, the remaining members of the wheeled boat group voted down a sacrifice of my people, then hopped out of the boat and began hanging out with us.
My alarm went off. I woke up.
It was 5AM. Monday. I didn’t want to get up. So, I scrolled through news, drifted off, looked at my Incongruous Circumspection (this blog) Site Stats, drifted off, checked the time, drifted off, wished a few people good morning, then finally my bedroom door opened.
“Daddy, can you drive us to school?”
It was Renaya (13). She does this every single morning. Asks me if I can drive them to school, at 7:00 AM, knowing that I can’t say no, being that school starts at 7:25 AM, the two older girls eat breakfast there, and it’s a 1.3 mile walk.
“Do I have a choice?”
The ritual completed, she closed the door, I rolled out, threw on some clothes, and drove them to school.
Arriving back home, I made a pot of coffee, took care of some work-related needs, then proceeded to wake the other kids. Fred (11) went straight to his iPad where he would sit until five-minutes before we had to leave. The other three little ones woke up, looked at me, then rolled over and went back to sleep.
I took care of a few more things.
Needing to leave with the kids at 8:30 AM, I looked at the clock. 8:14 AM.
Crap! I jumped up from my office desk, flying throughout the house, “KIDS! YOU HAVE 16 MINUTES! GET UP!!!”
Immediate panic ensued. This was manifested by everyone beginning to cry at the same time, and coming into my bedroom, crawling into Mommy’s arms, to be cuddled. I shrugged, and lied to myself that I could sit down for a few minutes. I sat down, then popped right back up.
Felicity (8), a perfect student, in every gifted and talented, advanced placement class the school could throw at her, was beginning to panic. She had a homework problem that she hadn’t finished the night before. It was the following math problem:
Use simple math operations to get the solution, 24, using each of the following four numbers, only once: 2, 11, 20, and 24.
I tried for a few seconds, then updated my Facebook status, asking all my friends to help. In the meantime, Felicity had taken the lack of urgency by all the other kids upon herself, escalating her anxiety. She being the sweetest kid alive, I heard her begin to weep, thinking the world was about to end. My anxiety escalated, working my adrenaline into a frenzy. I swore at the dog for getting in my way, she looked at me like I was an asshole – and stayed put. Running around her, I audibly grabbed one kid at a time, getting them ready. Felicity’s anxiety escalated further. Mine went up faster, wanting to make her happy. Fred (11) sat down on the master bathtub, not fully dressed, not packed for school, shoes scattered somewhere in the house, and cried. Felicity became even more anxious.
Then a dear friend of mine posted the answer to Felicity’s math problem on Facebook. I wrote it on Felicity’s homework paper, her anxiety evaporated, mine followed suit, I got the last items ready for the kids, and Mommy took them off to school.
And then I drank some coffee.