We make up acronyms to remember the layout of the more obscure African states.
She brings me a Pumpkin Blenders so we can get through refining her essay on defending the role of art in helping us understand history.
In our cozy nook at Coffee Bean on Coast Village we lament together on how tedious English grammar rules are while also discussing our sunglasses that we each scored at the Blue Bee sale.
We sit in the den and look up photos to compare past and present Santa Barbara fires and their damage, and since he asks we start talking about the possible link to global warming.
He tells me about the charity he helped start that arranges for clean water to get to villages in third world countries. I can see all of Santa Barbara from his dining room window and we mention how lucky we are to live here.
We sit at her desk and watch videos on Youtube of the Iranian President Ahmedinejad unbelievable discussing his doubt about the Holocaust, of a vintage news broadcast about the Mussolini's execution at the end of WWII, and current political satire shorts.
Clicking through Sparknotes, we review Beowulf and All Quiet on the Western Front. He is honest about just how lost he is on the meaning behind certain plot elements, and we pull up page after page that breaks down various symbols, characters, and explanations. He seems more relaxed by the end of the night, he can face the next day not feeling so lost like he has been.
She tells me about each of her siblings and how they each are gifted in some great way, this one is amazingly intelligent, this one is incredibly athletic and hard-working, the other one is wonderfully artistic. She doesn't know what she has going for her... I know that she fills this gap with partying, she doesn't know that I know that.
We laugh uncontrollably, something got us started and we can't stop... we are both just happy to be distracted even for a moment from linear equations. Before she leaves she shows me a couple tricks in using my new camera.
He gets all A's and has top test scores and his dad insists that his son still needs help prioritizing and getting organized... just because the boy has a messy binder. I shake my head after we talk, and drive my car down their long and opulent driveway flanked by gorgeous trees and fountains.
It's our last meeting and we hug, she promises to text me after the big test... then convinces me that now that I'm not her tutor anymore we can be friends on Facebook. So we are.
All these moments I've collected over the last couple of months with the fifteen and sixteen year olds that I tutor. There's hardly ever been such hours that are more mentally demanding but more rewarding and energizing in my life. And I get paid. I'm sometimes still in awe of that.