Monday, October 4, 2010

Interesting conversation

I had an interesting conversation today. It went something like this.
Guy: Where did you go to high school?
Me: I was homeschooled.
I watched as the guy's face changed. Before he said a word, I could tell that he didn't approve of homeschooling. Uh oh, I thought, What's he gonna say? I know that there are stereotypes and misconceptions about homeschooling, and I considered offering an explanation before he had a chance to speak. I considered it, but decided to wait and see what he would say instead.
Guy: Accountability is important. Don't you think? *pause* The parents have got to have college degrees.
You know, parents with college degrees are good, but really not necessary. At least, not here in Portland. There are so many opportunities for homeschoolers to expand their knowledge outside of what their parents are able to teach. Homeschoolers can form study groups, can sign up for community college classes, can join Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, can take part in certain school programs, can take classes at dance schools...the list of opportunities go on and on.

But one look at this guy told me that he wasn't going to listen. He'd made up his mind. So rather than defend homeschoolers as a whole, I decided to make it clear that at least some homeschoolers meet his expectations.
Me: My parents both have college degrees. My dad is a Ph.D, and used to be a professor at a university.
Guy: What did your dad teach?
Me: Um...well...he taught a variety of things. But that was before I was born. I do know that what he taught was related to his being an electrical engineer.
Guy: And your mom?
Me: She's an accountant.
Guy: Good. Your parents are well grounded in the maths and sciences.
It was nice to know that I had his approval, but I couldn't help but be a little irritated at his apparent disregard for the arts. I wanted to say Yes, science and math is important, but don't you think that the arts are too? But the thing is, even though I can order my thoughts and put together an argument on paper (or online) and in my English classes, I'm not always so good at it "in real life."


Do you ever find yourself wanting or needing to defend something, and yet not be able to form a proper argument in the moment, when it counts?


Willow Silverhorse said...

My writing is way better than my speech. I've had several English teachers say, "Thank God you write better than you speak. If you didn't you would fail this class." I can string words together wonderfully on paper, but in real life... Not so much.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I think many people kick themselves for not thinking of the best things to say right at the moment. I know I do! It's especially hard when you're caught off guard by some dumb-ass remark or question.

Jon said...

It's called staircase wit. It's when you come up with a great come up with an amazing comeback after an arguments over and you're already walking down the stairs to leave. It happens to me all the time, LOL!

Madam Lost said...

Excuse me -- accountants are good at arithmetic, not math! Math gets you to the moon; artihmetic helps you keep the business afloat. Yes, I am fairly fluent in math, but that knowledge comes from studying economics, not accounting!

Sarita Rucker said...

Willow -- I'd say it's definitely good that you're a good writer then!

Debra -- That's always my problem, being caught off guard.

Jon -- That reminds me of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, when Calvin is calling after some idiot "Yeah, just wait a few days until I come up with a good reply! You'll be devastated THEN!"

Mother -- And as I said before, he wasn't necessarily crediting you with knowing math. Engineers do have to know math, remember?

Didactic Pirate said...

Do I ever want to defend or argue something to someone, but find myself unable to articulate it?

All the time, my friend. And I'm a college writing teacher. Specializing in argument theory. *sigh*

Sarita Rucker said...

Wow. Even college professors specializing in argument theory have trouble. Somehow that surprises me.