Pinky's Book Link

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Nobody Listens to Pinky.


“So as part of this unit we will be learning about Mary MacKillop.” I said to my grade four students today.

“Awwww!” came the collective moans of dismay.

“We learnt all about her last year Mrs P,” they insisted.

Hmmmm, I thought, that’s good, maybe we can get through that part of the unit quickly then.

“Okay, hands up and tell me what you know.”

Three hands went up. 

“She was Australia’s first saint.” 

“She started the first Catholic school in Australia.”

It was going well until the final enthusiastic answer, 

“She was there when they saw the rock moved away from Jesus’ tomb!”

At least it wasn’t as bad as Rach’s class next door who asked her if Mary MacKillop was the same Mary who appeared when you turn the lights off in the bathroom and say,’ Bloody Mary’ three times into the mirror.

In the middle session I gave a very comprehensive (even if I say so myself) science lesson about friction. We went out to the car park and examined the tread on the tyres, (by the way Mrs Robertson, you need new tyres) and even did an exciting experiment involving rolling canisters along different surfaces and measuring the distance they travelled. It was all written up, tabled and aptly diagrammed in their books.

“So guys, what did we learn about friction today?” I asked optimistically during the afternoon session. Little Jacinta tentatively raised her hand,

“Um… if you cut up a pizza then each piece is called a friction?”

The only way you can be almost sure kids are actually listening is to say, 

“Look me in the eyes and repeat after me…” Even then there’s only a slight chance it’s sinking in.

Not that I can talk. I was dreadful at listening and even when I was eighteen I recall an incident which sent my father into a well-justified apoplectic fit.

Mum and Dad were going out for dinner and my boyfriend was over for the evening.

“Pinky, I want you to listen very carefully,” said my father gravely. “A man is going to phone me tonight to ask if the job at the hospital is on or off. He doesn’t have a home phone so I can’t call him back. Please make sure you answer the phone and give him the message.”

“Yeah, sure,” I murmured, waving him off dismissively.

“It’s very important Pinky,” Dad stressed, “We are turning the electricity supply off to all the operating theatres at the hospital just so we can do this job tomorrow morning. You must tell him the job is on, okay?”

“Yep, sure Dad, bye.”

About an hour later, while my boyfriend and I were watching the telly, the phone rang.

“Just ignore it,” I flippantly remarked.

“But it might be that bloke your father wanted you to give a message to.”

“Oh yeah… that’s right. I’ll be back in a sec.” I was a bit annoyed at this inconvenient chore taking me away from 'The Sullivans', but I slouched over to the bothersome phone and picked it up.

“Hi… yes he lives here… he had to go out but he gave me a message for you,” I paused suddenly, realising I didn’t know what the hell the message was supposed to be.

“Well…?” the bloke on the line queried. “Is the job on or off?”

“Ummm… It’s off.” I blurted, hedging my bets, I mean to say there was a fifty/fifty chance that ‘off’ was the correct response.

Dad’s first anxious question when he walked in the door was naturally to ask if the phone call had been dealt with.

“Yes Dad,” I drawled indifferently, “I told him the job was off.”

The look of murderous fury on my father’s face would have sent Charles Manson scuttling away to hide under his mother’s skirts. Even my boyfriend (the traitor) just stood shaking his head at me in disgust.

After a volatile and vociferous sermon on how much of a f#cking idiot child I was, and how I was the reason they'd invented the pill, my father was forced to drive around the suburb the bloke lived in all night. Dad had to scan driveways for the bloke’s car so that he could inform him that the job was indeed on, not off.

I’d be a liar if I said I have improved my listening skills since then. Just ask Scotto. 

He often tenderly takes my pointy little chin between his thumb and forefinger, gazes into my face and says, “Now look me in the eyes, and repeat after me…”