Creative Physics

Perhaps physics would explain how this little guy can hang on to these bricks so handily. Will he fall? Will he change color? Stay tuned to the next installment of Mr. Lizard: This is Your Life.

Words written in my novel so far: 50,046

Miles run yesterday: 4.5

Weird dreams I’ve had lately: 8

Apologies to all of those whose blogs I have not visited this week. I will be back in blog-reading form next week.

We were all at breakfast the other morning, my husband’s t-shirt on inside-out, my daughter’s hair full of crazy, bedhead curls.

“I had the strangest dream last night,” I said, trying to avoid pouring orange juice in the cereal bowl.

“Mmmph” came from three directions.

“I was talking to Brad Pitt’s kids, and then, all of a sudden, I was a detective, running into a room trying to ferret out a bad guy. I had a gun, but I was really scared, but I needed to wrangle him out of hiding. I was singing, ‘John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt’ at the top of my lungs, over and over.”

My husband crunched on some Honey Bunches of Oats. “Well, that would scare anyone.” He paused. “That explains why you were whimpering. I thought about waking you up, because I thought you were having a bad dream. But you were… singing.”

In my dream, I was yelling, but tomato, to-mah-to.

My waking life has actually taken on some bad dream characteristics, while I’m here filling in at a science office.

They do things differently here.

Like: writing 14:00 for 2 p.m. Why is it that I have to think really hard to come up with what time 16:00 is?

There are a lot of rules here.

Like always doing stuff the same way, over and over. Who knew they did stuff like that in science?

It’s reminding me of why I didn’t excel at chemistry. Or biology. Or physics, for that matter.

In high school, my friend and I sat on our high stools in the physics lab and wrote long creative writing samples to each other:

“Anne ______: This is Your Life. When last we saw Anne, she was riding away on an elephant, in search of the mysterious mousetrap. When she traveled deep into the jungle, who should she see but _____…”

Long, far-fetched stories about swashbuckling pirates, movie stars or love interests who closely resembled people in our class filled spiral notebooks.

Physics was an advanced class; I don’t know why I was in there. Physics applied to my life inasmuch as it related to my inability to wake up before 10 a.m. on a weekend (an object at rest tends to stay at rest).

But the boys in the class above us were in there, and all of their parents had conspired to name them with double initials. Our “This is Your Life” stories included DD, RR, SS and other double-named heroes. One of them liked to prop his large, bare feet on the foot rests of the stool beside him. We found this irresistible.

“When Anne saw the hero, RR, walking in the sand, she could tell it was him by his bare feet. ‘RR! I can’t believe you flew to Belize to have dinner with me!'”

We would always wrap up our stories with soap-opera-esque questions: “Why was RR at the beach? Are his shoes still lying by the side of the road? Will Anne convince our tall, dark and handsome hero to wear shoes with his tuxedo when he escorts her to prom? Stay tuned…”

I don’t know why we were never caught. Probably because our teacher was bored by our antics and positively scintillated by mousetrap cars.

Or maybe he felt sorry for us because our creative writing smacked of bottom-of-the-barrel romance novels. “Poor girls. I can’t confiscate their notebook; it’s all they have. These two clearly aren’t going to become astrophysicists.”

When we weren’t sitting on high stools, we were down on the floor, taking part in “hands-on activities.” I’m still not sure what we were supposed to learn by rolling things around in the hallways.

Now, 24 years later, I am taking careful notes about numbers and dates and times and using controls and rules. Karma, my friends. I could write a good “Twilight Zone” episode with my learning experiences this week alone.

The takeaways from this week:

1. ‘John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt’ is apparently a go-to comfort song for me. I did not know that.

2. If you are going to use the time in science class to write creatively, go ahead and start on your first novel. You could get way ahead of the curve.

3. The iPhone 5 is out. Did you hear?

Were there ever classes that you wish you’d tuned into? Or do you feel that activities like creative writing were better uses of your time?