Thursday, March 08, 2007

Science Fair

Guess what, y'all? After ONE WEEK on the shelves, Scent of Shadows made #82 on the USA Today Bestseller List. Wow! Congrats, Vicki!

Back to your regularly scheduled blog:

On Tuesday, I participated in the regional Science Fair for 5th-8th graders, as a judge for 7th/8th grade behavioral science. (No laughing, please--I was a psych major, if briefly.) I also had to choose the winner of my department's award for best board presentation overall.

I'd never judged, or even participated in, a Science Fair before, so this hormone-soaked competitive atmosphere was a bit new to me. Kids lounged under tables, listening to ipods or reading thick fantasy books, until I walked by with my clipboard...and then they leaped to their feet, smiling anxiously, mentally preparing their speeches. I kept telling them not to worry, at which point most of them would mumble "okay" and drop instantly to their lounging positions again. Very Strange.

I listened politely to all 12 groups of kids in my section explain their experiments. Some were quite impressive and well thought out--and some raced rodents through tubes for no apparent reason. But I'd finished my group and the other judges weren't done, so I took the opportunity to wander the whole hall to decide on the overall prize.

I was feeling pretty cocky and grown-up, walking through aisle after aisle. Look at me, I'm a JUDGE, I thought. I'm a professional, working woman. Some of you might even look up to me.

And then I got a tap on my shoulder.

I turned to find a 7th grade boy, in white shirt and dress pants, about 2 inches from my face. He was surrounded a few paces back by a circle of similar boys. They all snickered simultaneously, and I suddenly wondered if this was that dream, where I forgot to put any pants on.

"I like your badge," he said, and they all laughed again. I blinked. I looked down at the "JUDGE" badge pinned on my chest, a simple tag with a little icon of a judge in one of those plastic covers. It was exactly the same as all the other adults were wearing. How on earth do I react to this? What is the appropriate cool grown-up response?

"It's hot, isn't it?" I said, with a knowing smile.

His turn to blink. Then, emboldened by his friends watching, he continued. "It's shiiiiiny," he said, and they all turned, like a school of fish, and walked away.

I have no idea what this little episode means...or whether it was particularly good judgement to say "It's hot" to a 7th-grader. But I must remember this when I'm writing about 14-year-olds.


Chris said...

I'm sure they had their own weird little reason for it. Can't figure teens out myself.

Cindy said...

Oh, that's easy.

They all thought YOU were hot, and dared one another to talk to you.

"You go!" Shove.
"Naw, man. You go." Shuffle.
"Hawhawhaw..." shoves glasses up nose "Dude, I'll go!"
Guffaw, guffaw.

You must be one of those Hot Moms. (G)

Susan Adrian said...


LOL! No, I wouldn't consider myself a Hot Mom. Rose, she is a Hot Mom--and we won't even talk about Vicki.

But I was half-hoping, for ego's sake, that's what they were doing. {g}