Last week I had a dream I was back in high school math (did I say dream? I meant nightmare), only I was married to my husband, Ed, who was in the class with me. The teacher was my daughter Olivia's 4th grade teacher and she wanted me to finish some big math project before the end of the class (even though I'd been out of the room most of the day--probably making copies for her).
I didn't want to do this project because it was one of those that had lots of steps and are supposed to help you learn the basics (even though you may already understand it).
I tried to tell the teacher I didn't have all the stuff I needed to finish the project, hoping she'd let me just skip it ('cause it was high school math, and I'm grown up and married, and she's my daughter's 4th grade teacher who I had done a lot of volunteer work for, including cutting out 600 paper apples with the die cut machine). Instead she said "That's okay, all the markers and counters are over there so you can finish".
I really didn't want to do this project, as I'd already passed both 4th grade math and high school math. It was going to take too long and it was almost the end of the day and end of the school year. And Ed was already done. (If you're married in high school, can you just do one set of homework? Washington is a community property state, after all.)
It was at this point that I started waking up. I was still in that half-conscious zone, where if it had been a real nightmare I'd still be freaked out and my heart would be pounding. But instead the solution to my math problem came to me (as if in a dream, or half out of a dream): multiplication! All I had to do was multiply the numbers to solve the problem and then I'd be done with it!
I'd forgotten about this dream until I ran into Olivia's teacher yesterday at the store and told her about my dream, much to Olivia's embarrassment.
And what message should I take from this dream? If you're a grown up you get to skip a lot of the boring steps? Math isn't fun? Or multiplication will save your ass every time.
(I'd like to dedicate this dream to John Scieszka's Math Curse, which perfectly describes my relationship to all things numeral .)