I was visiting a school in Ontario on the day of the inauguration, and the principal asked if I would mind having my presentation cut short so that the fifth and sixth grade students could watch.
You mean they would miss question time with a Canadian children's author in order to witness history? I said.
Uh, yeah, he said.
I was hoping for perspective, and I got it. The kids were excited at the idea of watching TV in the gym, and cheered every time the President paused in his speech. When it was over I followed them out the door, and listened hard to their conversation. A lot of it was lunch related: what they were going to eat, where they were going to sit with. There were some things said about a girl named Leslie -- none of them complimentary. Two guys were shoving each other, not meaning it. Someone had a nose bleed, and had to lie down.
I asked the kids what they thought of the new President.
There was a pause.
He's okay, said someone.
He's historic, right? said someone else.
He's kind of ... boring, one guy admitted.
I smiled and smiled. Ah, grade six. I'd rather have eaten my own sweatshirt than listen a politician make a speech. And if I had had to listen, I'd have drawn cars and guns and tic-tac-toe games on my arm to stay awake.
The kids are all right. Even Leslie is probably all right. She sounds like a bit of a pain, though.