Good Wood!(7) During a grade ten English class my teacher asked a question she related to the book, Of Mice and Men. The bunkhouses were described, as I recall, sparse but clean, simple but practical. With wooden crates for sitting, makeshift tables and bunk beds for sleeping. Almost everything was made of wood and an old hound slept on the floor.
The question was this. What word would you use to describe the conditions in the bunkhouse? I put up my hand and said, "Comfortable." The class fell silent, I felt as though I might have said something profound from my point of view.
I was wrong, well at least as the teacher understood it. She let out a mocking laughter. "Comfortable? Did you say, comfortable? Hahaha, no no no. Next person please."
For a boy of fifteen, her reaction was judgmental, dramatic and very unprofessional. Had she had a more open mind, I could have explained why I felt, "Comfortable" was appropriate for the scenario. She simply did not know me and cared not too.
At a latter date, with the same teacher, I was trying to copy notes she was writing on the board. She wrote very small letters and I politely requested if she could please write a little larger. She turned into Mrs. Drama Queen and jest fully proclaimed, " Oh, my writing is not large enough for John to read. Well let me make adequate adjustment, so that he may read the board."
The crazy bitch started to write out two foot characters while speaking loudly and slowly sounding out each word. She had a grand laugh along with most of the students. It was a real embarrassment for me and a great disappointment because I was truly interested in the subject matter.
Eventually, I dropped out of that class by skipping as I felt I had no one to turn to. But I was vigilant and retook the course with another male teacher who understood the mind of a teenage boy better. In his introductory class he asked the students what we wanted to get out of the semester. I said, I wanted to do some creative writing. He enjoyed my stories so much, that he read them to the class every Monday. There was even one story I wrote that described how I smuggled hash into Canada posing as a cowboy and weaving hashish into a rope as a disguise. It was a hit with the class. From an F to an A, because of a teacher who was male and freely opened minded.
As a boy, a young man and now a middle aged man I have always loved wood and anything made from it. It can be an old log rotting in the bush or a finely crafted desk. Wood is used for housing, boats, furniture. It's an amazing natural product that I have always enjoyed. I suppose that is why I used the description, "Comfortable" in describing the scene in a building made of wood, with all it's interior and furnishings constructed from it. I'm comfortable surrounded with wood, a sleeping old hound and a card game played on a make shift table while sitting on some turned over fruit crates.