The kid

Whelp –

Against my wishes and better judgement, I am back to teaching. It’s fine, and I hope that it is going to amount to something that isn’t teaching. It might do, and so the teaching is a means to an end. Still I can’t say that I am happy about it.

The classes I am teaching are all various levels of bad. They are also bad in their own interesting ways. But the one I wanted to bring up was the one I have affectionately nicknamed ‘the kid’

Although I cannot remember which one specifically, The Kid reminds me of a cartoon character. Not a main character, but a side character who is meant to represent your typical pimple-faced teenager. Everything is there from the greasy skin, long and unfashionable hair, to an enlarged nose complete with a few pimples. His dress code is all over the place, wearing sneakers with a corduroy suit to an 80’s themed all neon wind breaker getup.

The kid is something else. He reminds me a of a cooler version of myself.

I doubt he is a very good student, and that’s why I am teaching him. He has repeatedly told me that he doesn’t want to study, so we just spend our 90 minutes talking, and I fill out my end of day report with the words ‘conversation practice’. I know full well that the kind of conversation practice we are doing doesn’t help for shit, but he is doing me a favor – I don’t have to prep any classes, and I can largely shut my brain off while we chat1.

He talks to me at great length about his life and his hobbies. I don’t care, but it does beat doing actual work. I listen with some kind of fascination at this kid’s narcissism. I don’t blame him for it, it comes with the age – I was a narcissist at that age and likely so were you. And he is living his best teenager life, and he insists on telling me about in painstaking detail.

I am starting to get the appeal that people have towards the younger generation. It is interesting to see how much potential this kid has. The kid is smart – or at least what I think smart is and he has a lot of ambition. Alas, I know that life will, statistically speaking, beat this ambition right out of him. His ambition has a high chance of not surviving. But for now, he wants to tell stories and make movies and I sit and listen to him tell me about it.

I too want to tell stories, but I have to sit here and listen to this kid instead.

I try to give him advice about these things, but he is at that age where he knows better.

Being older, I cannot help but try to give this kid some guidance. It looks like he is going to go down a humanities route, and I want to shake him and scream, telling him not to do it. This is how you end up a useless teacher teaching some kid in your late 30’s. But he won’t listen to me.

Instead, he tells me that he likes to study history and literature. I tell him to swap it out for philosophy and science, as those are the only things that will actually answer the questions in life.

“How will it answer the question about whether such-and-such a girl likes me?”

I want to tell him that in truth, that isn’t even a question. It is just the narcissist roadblock to the real questions. But I keep my mouth shut, and I keep listening to the kid. I wouldn’t have listened to me either. Of course, when I was his age I was so reviled by the people I went to school with what I am experiencing is at least partially jealousy.

I probably shouldn’t even give this kid advice. As much of a failure as I am, where could I possibly take him?

1 There is a time limit to this, and to me it feels like a time bomb. I used to relish this in China, and then I got to the point where I became resentful of it. Why do i have to listen to this boring ass person? Couldn’t I be doing something useful?

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