SCHOOL / Gaia, a waiting heart and the terrible “normality” that awaits her

Gaia is twelve years old and with clear eyes. Her mother told me that the other day she saw her daughter in front of the calendar for the first time, while she was talking down to the end of the school year: -35. And that’s weird, because she’s always liked school, she’s still like school, and everything’s going smoothly. Where did this countdown come from back then?

The girl starts to rain. And then it begins to look like the adults, to reduce the gap that separates it from them, and which is then the most interesting thing about the little ones: the potential difference between their willingness to live and the adults’ haste to quit. .

You do not know how they feel, in your innocence you do not know what you risk. You will count the week down and look forward to Saturday, while now every day is full for you: you will feel empty, on Tuesdays, all Thursdays, and you will trick yourself into filling them by filling a glass. In high school, you will count down to the exams, and woe to you if you do not celebrate the 100 days that the protocol for any good maturation candidate prescribes: you would seem unfit, ready to visit the psychologist. At university, you will be eager to take your exams away in front of you, and when you have a job, you count down to vacation. In short, you want to quit instead of starting. While man was created to begin with – and he himself is a “initium“, As Augustine and Hannah Arendt wrote (“Initially, it is important that you are gay”) – you will feel this gruesome craving for nothing.

It is the ink that Dino Buzzati told in chapter XXV Desert of the Tartars:

“Drogo continues in the illusion that the important thing has not yet begun. […] But one day he realized it […] in the last few months (who knows exactly how long?) he no longer ran the stairs two and two. Nonsense, he thought, physically he always felt the same, everything started all over again, there was not even doubt; a test would have been ridiculously redundant.

No, physically, Drogo has not been aggravated, if he resumed riding and ran up the stairs, he would be perfectly fit, but that is not what matters. The serious thing is that he no longer feels like he prefers to doze off in the sun after breakfast rather than frolic up and down the rocky esplanade. That’s what matters, this alone records in recent years.

Oh, if he had thought about it the first time he took the stairs one step at a time! Admittedly, he felt a bit tired, he had a circle on his head and no desire for the usual card game (even in the past, he had sometimes given up running up the stairs due to occasional ailments). He was not the furthest in doubt that that evening was very sad for him, that at those steps, exactly at that time, his youth concluded that the next day, for no particular reason, he would never return to the old system, and not even the day after tomorrow, neither later nor ever ”.

For Gaia, the harmless look at the calendar is a point of no return just like Drogo’s step: now everything goes normally, outwardly she shows no revolution: the tasks diligently performed, the grades certainly high. Argo in his numbers does not consider the sudden loss of the heart, this “forgotten instrument,” as Montale called it. The salvation of his clear eyes and his waiting heart will not be questioned by the class councils nor in the periodic interviews where they will praise his brain and his commitment; this hidden rift will be off the radar of teachers’ conscientious hours, as well as the passionate encouragement of coaches and the generous dedication of catechists.

The “homo-nihilism” of adults, veiled by an aura of regret over the age that cannot return, will continue to poison the wells and invite you to enjoy the “best years of our lives” while well-integrated children are commanded . Each will help to bring it into the world of adults, to make it the perfect mechanism for the gear. The elementary school teacher may have left his good Italian bases, but the passion for things is a flame that does not stay lit thanks to the basis of natural curiosity or the good work of the years before or even the day before, because the world he throws buckets of water on the fire of childhood . The desire for Monday is the basic characteristic of the teachers you deserve, it is on this one question that teachers need to be selected: are you looking forward to Monday or Saturday?

They will give you tasks where there will never really be a need to understand, think: it will always and only be a matter of remembering, at most of searching or google. Woe to you if you allow yourself to exist instead of to function. If you hit a 4’er, they move mountains; if, on the other hand, you do not want to get out of bed, no one blinks: “Me too, what do you think, when I go to work, I feel like all this?”. In recent years, I have talked to many mothers who are legitimately worried because their son did not go out in the evening “like the others”, but not once with a mother who was worried because her son was drinking drunk about in the evening.

Pasolini would call it “anxiety for normality”, “the will to not only not appear different, but not even just distinct. […] All are good: and therefore all have their good unhappy face. To be good is the first commandment of consumer power (in whose mental and behavioral universe you, poor Gennariello, are born): well it is to be happy (consumer hedonism). The result is that happiness is all completely false: while an immediate accident spreads more and more ”. And “look, they do not teach you to shine. And you shine instead”, my friend.

Normality awaits you: communion, confirmation, high school, driver’s license, entrance exam. You become one of the many graduates who show up in high school with eyes full of curiosity, spoiled with grades and praise, with evenings and trips, and come out five years later with dull eyes but a step away from some beautiful faculties , ready for a bright future, as a well-placed bourgeois. “Everyone is born as originals, but many die as photocopies,” wrote Carlo Acutis, a boy a little older than you, in his diary. They will look at the finished sculpture with satisfaction. It turned out well, really well, they would say. “They managed to change us, they did, you know”, Fabrizio De André would sing for you. But for this shattered will to live, for this heart that does not deserve the countdown that shakes this morning as they enter the classroom?

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