A layer of dust which has been absorbing the impact of some of the sharper nuances of life’s revelations, removing the acute level of shock and curiosity with which your childhood brain recieved new items of information?
Because that's how I felt when I heard the following conversation between Year 5 pupils [9-10 year olds] and their teacher when I worked as a Learning Mentor several years ago.
The teacher had a children's news website up on the interactive whiteboard and was reading aloud various items of interest to the class, when she came across something about the Burmese Democracy party leader Ang Saung Su Chi. [Whose 65th birthday last week has meant she's been much in the news and hence reminded me to share this with you].
Explaining to the children who Suu Kyi was she mentioned the issue of her being under house arrest for much of the last 20 years.
Now, I think I know what house arrest means. You think you know what house arrest means. And we've probably both got a good idea of what it involves, however ....
.... I bet you've never given as much thought as some of Year 5 did as to the level of ramifications this must have had for Suu Kyi.
After having it explained to them that it meant her life was very restricted and could not see her family the children were [rightly] indignant about it. They paused for a moment before asking questions which at the same time voiced their genuine concern, while verbalising some of their own 10 year old priorities.
Two beautifully naive questions in particular have stayed with me all this time:
Q1: Year 5 girl: Miss? .... If she can't leave her house, how does she have her hair cut?
Well, honestly now, can you answer that one? No? Me neither!
And then came my favourite question of the day. Perhaps my favourite question of all time. A question asked by a boy [who always reminded me of Joey from Friends] who was not known for paying attention in class but whose interest and indeed, true concern, had obviously been stirred ....
Q2: Year 5 boy: But Miss ....What does she eat? Like ... bags of crisps? .....Or.... can she have like, a little pie?
Funnily enough the teacher didn't know the answer to that one.
In fact the only thing the teacher did know right then and there was that she, in no uncertain terms, had to avoid making eye-contact with me else we'd have both collapsed into unprofessional belly laughs.
I hope it's given you cause to smile today, I know I've been making up for my in-class restraint ever since through my retelling of that tale to anyone who'd listen in the intervening years and now it's your turn!
But, seriously? You couldn't write a scene like that could you? Although the thought of combining comedy and kids is one never too far from the top of my 'might do one day' list ...
Thanks for reading today, I do hope the laugh was worth your time. If you'd like to know more about Aung San Suu Kyi then here's her Wikipedia page.