Monday was the first day of the spring semester and I took my first ceramics class. It was a clear and warm day in Santa Cruz, the air was balmy and fresh and I left early to find parking, not knowing how much trafic there might be; I don’t want to be rushed.
There were thousand of young and younger people everywhere around the college. I was a bit nervous, but it also felt good to be there and be starting a new adventure. I find my class room and settle in; first there is one boy, while the rest is girls, then, just before class begins, a whole groupe of boys arrive. The one who was there first is a lanky latino guy with a long horsey face, but not bad looking. His black eyes are bright and lively and a catch them checking me out a couple of times.
We each get a lump of clay and have to sculpt a bird in flight. At the same time the teacher talks endlessly – more than an hour straight – and in great detail about what is expected of us.
“Expectations is the partner of disappointment,” she writes on the blackboard. (I hope we will not disappoint her).
She warns us: we mustn’t think we can just take the class without attending and doing the work! And cellphones, they must be turned off, OK! They disturb other people, OK! You are no longer present here when you talk to someone who is in another place. So, turn them off, OK!
I concentrate on my bird. For some reason I have the impression that it has to come flying towards the one who looks at it like it’s half out of the wall. It’s looking ackward but I don’t know how to do it differenly, so I push on without listening too much to the stream of rules and their reasons.
My neighbor is a beautiful dark haired girl. She shows me a strange little lumpy figure that makes me feel less bad about my own, but when it’s finished it reminds me of the golden Pre-colombian frogs that I saw in the museeum in Costa Rica; its primitive strength have a childish charm.
After an hour and a half we put all of our works together on a table and the result is an impressive variety of forms and ideas. Then we are dismissed and I go and get a woucher for clay and a toolkit.
It looks like it’s going to be fun.