Fuck It, Let’s Have Class Outside Today
There are days when I can’t bear to look at the news. These days are more frequent lately, in part because the news itself is getting harder to come by: Buzzfeed News shut down. Vice News shut down. Twitter, most people’s default news aggregator for the past decade or more, is entering its death spiral. It’s getting harder to see the world outside my own front door, and, to be honest, I am sometimes grateful. It’s time for something different. Something restorative. Fuck it: Let’s have class outside.
Did your teachers or college professors ever do this for you? Just move the whole class session outdoors, once it got nice, and force you all to critique each other’s terrible poetry under the shade of a spreading oak or something? No real learning was possible — everyone was concentrating on the sunshine and their friends passing by and possibly a butterfly or a dandelion or the promise that lies implicit in the fact of spring or something — and so, when teachers really wanted you to learn, they would refuse to move class outside. They would say that it was time wasted. They would tell you that it was just recess for adults.
Sometimes, though, the teachers would come in with an iced coffee, and they’d be a little rumpled, underslept or hungover or just bored with their own adult personae, and they’d say it was time to have class outside. They would take you outdoors for an hour of learning absolutely nothing. Imagine me, bearing an iced coffee, telling you that adult recess is now in session. When I look at my computer, I see reasons to worry. When I look out my window, all I can see is sunshine and budding leaves and the fact of springtime, the world’s constant promise that eventually, when things have been bad enough for long enough, they do start to improve.
This is a serious assignment. I actually do want you to go outside for this. Have you got a seasonally appropriate jacket? Do you have a drink you can take with you — seltzer, bottled water, big 99-cent can of ice tea, something? You’re taking your phone, though I do not want you to look at it. Put on some music in your headphones, if you must. What I want you to do is go outside and walk, and keep walking until you arrive somewhere you haven’t…