I really liked today’s class with Ms. Johnson, said Ditto. What did you like about it? said Virginia. I liked that she’s interested in who we are, said Ditto. She asked about our friends, our family, and the life we live on Walden Pond. There’s a term for that, said Virginia. A term for what? said Ditto. A term for when teachers are interested in their students, said Virginia, in a way that the students are also teachers, and the relationship becomes reciprocal. Reciprocal? said Ditto. Back and forth, said Virginia. What’s the term? said Ditto. It’s called, “Tons of Knowledge,” said Virginia. “Tons of Knowledge?” said Ditto. I think so, said Virginia, I heard Ms. Johnson talking about it the other day. That sounds like a lot of knowledge! said Ditto. It is, said Virginia. It refers to everything we know from growing up outside the classroom; the cultural, intellectual, and emotional diversity of our lives. Hmm, said Ditto, “Tons of Knowledge,” I like that, it makes me feel I have a lot to offer.
Ms. Johnson was talking a lot about neoliberalism in today’s class, said Ditto, do you know what she meant? I think, said Virginia, it’s about ignoring who people are and forcing them to be what they’re not. How do you know who you are? said Ditto. Who you are, said Virginia, is what creates a knot in your stomach when you’re forced to be what you’re not.
Why do you think people worry? said Ditto. I think people worry, said Virginia, because they love, and because they want the best for others in an unpredictable world. Is that why you worry? said Ditto. Yes, said Virginia. In that case, said Ditto, I’m going to start worrying too. About what? said Virginia. About you, said Ditto, in an unpredictable world.
Do you think that beauty, said Ditto, is in the object or in the eye of the beholder? I don’t know, said Virginia, what do you think? I think it’s both, said Ditto, if the object is the eye of the beholder. Are you saying, said Virginia, that you think I have beautiful eyes?
You haven’t been sleeping? said Ditto. No, said Virginia, I lie awake, thinking. What do you think about? said Ditto. I think about my loved ones, said Virginia, what they’re doing and what they need, and what I can do for them. That’s a lot to think about, said Ditto. Yes, said Virginia, it is. Maybe we could share your loved ones, said Ditto, and I could think of half of them and you could think of the other half. That way you could get at least half a night’s sleep.”