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CRAZY PART II
SCHOOL STORIES School days are sometimes pretty crazy. Especially when there’s still a math test to write on the last day of school for the year and a virus called Corona has a firm grip on the day’s schedule.
Tuesday, 15/12/2020, 2:10 pm. Corona case numbers have risen to the point that after a month and a half of lockdown-light (which has not improved the situation at all), the government has initiated the real lockdown. Finally, the twelfth grades are to have distance learning, starting tomorrow. I’m sitting alone downstairs in our school’s lounge. I’m laughing. This is crazy and not what I thought I would do during the last hour of the last school day of 2020.
Small warning: This story reflects my thoughts about the whole Corona school day, and they can be pretty confusing – or even crazy – sometimes.
5:40 am. Once again, I’m overhearing the alarm clock. The day itself promises to be nice, if it weren’t for this little thing in the last lesson: maths test. I’m always afraid of math tests. Even if you understand everything in theory, a blackout can ruin your entire grade. I have already experienced that last year and would prefer to not repeat the situation.
You’re afraid of blackouts too? Click here.
I wanted to use every chance to get good marks and this is what I am going to do. I’m studying in the car one more time. I could have done that on the bus later, but even though now the bus is emptier because of the alternating classes – whose usefulness to defeat Corona is to be doubted – the bus doesn’t seem to me like a place where one should study (maybe that’s also because I get nauseous quickly on the bus). But since I have forgotten my headphones, I have no choice but to observe the landscape, still in the dark. I’m mentally preparing for the day.
A red sky
The second morning red in two days, I think to myself as I’m standing at the window in the first lesson and trying to capture the sunrise with the HDR camera function of my phone. Yesterday I have also thought of photographing a similarly beautiful backdrop, but there were just too many people around me, in front of which I would have had to justify myself.
Now five of us are sitting in a room – also because of this crazy Corona virus – watching the end of the movie ‘Mario and the Magician’ while the other seventeen people in our German class are doing lessons with our teacher above us (someone must not have been able to count when he divided us into two rooms).
We are to compare the movie with the book and give reasons why the film version turns out so much more dramatically than the original does. (Warning, spoiler!) Fascism is the big theme. That totalitarian system of power embodied in ‘Mario and the Magician’ by the magician Cipolla. The assistants Cipolla has in the film confuse us. Almost all the card tricks and number games are omitted. The hypnotizing takes on a comic undertone.
But the strangest thing surprises us at the end. Now Cipolla does not die and with him fascism, as it is described in the book. Rather, Cipolla gets Mario’s secret love Silvestra to kill the innocent Mario. Fascism, then, shows its crazy face. We’re beginning to discuss in the room. How it is that none of the viewers realize the drama of the situation. It is only in retrospect that one seems to realize what has just really happened. Then, when it is already long too late to do anything about it.
Corona hygiene rules
The implementation of the hygiene rules at our school often seems more improvised than anything else. So the instruction of our German teacher is also crazy (sorry for using the word ‘crazy’ so often, but it describes the whole day best) when it finally comes to the room change after 50 minutes. While our seventeen classmates walk down the stairs and into the room where they are now to independently analyse – as we did before – Mario’s wonderfully dramatic ending, we five students stand outside in the schoolyard in front of the door. This is to prevent any contact between the two groups.
I don’t want to complain here, because in fact such a small group of five students can be quite pleasant – even if the entire class participation is then limited to 4 students. This is how the rest of the German lesson passes. Every now and then I interject my thoughts, but at the same time I seriously think about whether I like school better in Corona times. At least – the corridors are emptier, the bus ride is more pleasant and you are ideally only watched by the teacher for 45 minutes.
Terrible, however: Corona made our headmaster forbit eating and drinking in the building. While my friend Vini uses the break and subsequent free period to buy Christmas presents in town, I’m standing in the schoolyard with hands freezing from the cold and am trying to enjoy my breakfast at least halfway. Lisa comes up to me and says that even the break is no longer allowed in the common room. Corona is really starting to drive me crazy. Our relief is great when the bell finally rings.
Free period is not synonymous with free time in my world. Because of course I still have maths exercises planned for these 90 minutes. First of all, there’s this one that I have already picked out last night, but haven’t managed d), e) and f). Sighing, I’m setting to work.
I often miscalculate and get a headache. I’m deciding to get some fresh air. You don’t get enough of that in the common room, because the windows that are there don’t open (which is crazy, because this circumstance is especially good for spreading Corona). Even more worthy of consideration, however, is the rather loose hygiene attitude of my year-mates, because most of them do not keep the minimum distance at all. How could they when there are 8 people sitting around a table?
Lisa and I don’t have that problem at our table of two. At least most of the people in here wear masks while handing out Christmas gifts to each other… But enough of thinking. I wanted to get some fresh air.
When I’m finally getting outside, I’m not finding any peace. A window is open and I’m hearing film music in the background. Someone must be watching Christmas films on the last day of school. I’m smiling. We used to do that in the smaller classes too, now we’re lucky if we get to watch a history documentary. We are about to take our school-leaving exams. There are no Christmas films or second chances. I should probably finish my maths exercises.
PS: My article New Year’s resolutions was published on 28/12/2020.