Hayden Uniaro arrived on times as usual, thinking about how stupid a lot of sci-fi would pass off to many people if they understood more often how non-feasible a lot of the things shown are. Unlike a lot of other people he knew he not fueled by his vices on the side when he tried to do his homework. It was algebra homework and while he was daunted by it he still wanted to love it.
“Hayden, you sure?” ask the old man. An old, infamously intimidating but seldom seen.
teacher. As if being under the hormonal charges of being a teenager weren’t bad enough. He couldn’t even give feedback to a question like ‘257y * 14=97t’ from before and now this? Take away the variables and place it on the vertical and it’s just another arithmetic question. Something he scrambled to understand during his final years of elementary. An autistic and he didn’t know it, he always had a fondness of science, dear to his heart. It was an appreciation which was more emotionally charged than laden with reason as old stereotypes go. Didn’t mean he didn’t like knowing the rationale behind occurrences though. Science: to him it was ‘the great explainer of nature’.
More recently, he started venturing into the thoughts behind it. The philosophy of it so to speak. Not with Popper, not with Russell or even Feynman but more or less with (prior to this anxiety) a “self-initiative “towards recently pop non-fiction which lended themselves to what some might call ‘mystical’ proclivities. Stuff about quantum mechanics, cosmology and the funkiness of non-Euclidean geometry. It gave him hope. Too bad no one else got resonance of it and left him feeling a heaviness of ridiculing eyes at the base of his skull. Songs with disgusting subtext being played by a girl in the back who he liked, secretly listening to her MP3 also gave him hope in a way. He still couldn’t believe he only recently found ways to express himself.
“Well?..” said the old man in a snide tone with an arrogance, Hayden felt reluctant to respond. “Well..”, Hayden responded sheepishly maybe if you divide by both sides because of the order of the numbers. “What?!?..No!” responded the old man. He put an x underneath the other half of the equation. Reciprocation in the form of the reciprocal function. It had never occurred to Hayden. The poor boy, didn’t even know about reciprocation. Or at least he didn’t quite have a grasp of it yet. His one track mind and the self-isolation he did in trying to get by with his involvement of delving into an ocean of knowledge. He’d been starting to notice, after a spurring by a penultimate elementary school teacher just in the year prior that math is a corollary to science. Making the statements of the “I hate math..” nature by fellow classmates (which he hated) seem increasingly sophomoric if not, to put it unkindly, ignorant.
The course went on even though the day ended. It was different for the math class though. A silly experimental arrangement by the school that year made it so that every second day there was a switch between the math and English courses. Both languages, in spite of what some believed. Drudgery to some and not always as enjoyable as the exteriorly finicky but kindly French teacher he had lessons under but still very important. Oh so important to Hayden who wanted to go into natural sciences in university in the future. “I gotta get out of here”, he thought so loudly to himself by the end of the year.
He knew of someone, last name Marfan who was in the advanced grade 11 math course even though he was in grade 12. A straggler maybe or an autistic maybe. It bothered Hayden, how people would compare him to Mr. Marfan. Maybe it was because of the mechinications in the math department. There was something fishy about this place. This whole school. A whole plaque full of lists trailing of famous alumni for a school people even teachers in the public board hadn’t even heard of. He remember how he told his mom on entering in for registration early on how if he ever became famous.
At the time it was because of something more or less, ego but now it was because he didn’t want the credit to go such a place like this with the police state like surveillance of teachers who obviously had their own insular internalities going on making derisive remarks, arbitrary and judgemental, not much a step up from the bully cracks Hayden got onto other students in the center forum of the school. Even to “bottom rung” essential level stragglers, some with legitimate disorders which made learning hard for them, others only continuing the legacy of oblivious, not caring and disvaluing of knowledge which so repulsed Hayden.
A certain Mr. Daleep, joshed a certain student of the former sort who Hayden had an ambivalent curiosity too, watching while he gave into emotional eating out of stress on peanut butter cookie. A certain ne’er-do-well compared Hayden to this boy being joshed by a principal while he essentially did janitorial work to count towards co-op credits. It threw him into a frenzied fit and the ne’er-do-well reclarified and gradually actually became likable to Hayden who now regretted having gotten angry at him. Having nigh-”proudly” explained how taunted a boy with a likely impairment though--that got to him and stuck with him. Looking at Seginoff now, he thought about he reminded him of things he didn’t want to be but was oblivious himself to how he was not in the least considering how the boy likely had an impairment.
“Hey, Hayden what are you thinking about doing this summer?” said Kenneth Hue, who sat in front of him in science class. “I don’t know, what are you going to do this summer?” Hayden replied back. Both, talked like they usually did when science class was winding down and the in class chapter questions had been done. He started writing on the inside of his textbook. “Geez, you have to learn to be more socially active Hayden”, Kenneth replied with an undertone of irritation while still being gently reprimanding, something Hayden knew he saved for him, what with the furtive get together they made, Hayden being ever so gratefully to him for saving his sorry hide. First with a format for doing reports which he didn’t cover during the grade 9 English course he was actually able to take before entering this dump of a high school, thankfully and now by being there for him when he was barely passing his math course. Kenneth didn’t mind too much because it’s what he was sometimes helped his twin sibling with but Hayden still felt a lot of debt to him. They’d both known each other in kindergarten, only re-encountered one another during the penultimate year of elementary but in all likelihood Kenneth didn’t think much for their old connection.
“I know that I’m going to be at this school still to do the grade 10 math credit”. What Kenneth said made a light go off in Hayden’s head. Taking a math course at summer school; what a brilliant idea! Taking it and avoiding the anxiety riddled tension which he had intensely grown in under a year at this obscure but pompous place. “Can I come with?” asked Hayden. “Sure”, Kenneth replied. There was actually still a question both hadn’t attended to. A ray optics one, a difficult question placed in on the review and one of 10 possible wildcard questions. A request in meeting its difficulty?: out of necessity having to go through steps that for some bizarre but surely scientific line of reasoning led to what could be called a “beginners step” to deriving the quadratic equation ‘ax+bx+c=0’.
What could be called an addiction to classical music kept Hayden churning on his math studies into the night with all the pressured into slinkiness of a man about to commitment suicide and do a final horrendous deed. It wasn’t that though, Hayden just wanted to leave this place. A high school, a part of the separate school board, the Catholic school board, Hayden had only entered into it instead of the other option of being back in a public school like it was for him before grade 7 out of a misguided notion of “duty” that he’d be a good Catholic by still going to a Catholic school.
And while Hayden had grown fond of the expression for broad issues he could have in the religion class, (his only relief in a place he soon found to be under toned with nepotism in a place many would find hard to believe wasn’t run by clerics anymore), the immature “our gang” attitudes of some of the teachers he saw, men who like so many there didn’t care for Catholicism beyond a perfunctory grasp of “going through the motions” of the ins and outs of the ritualism of an odd Mass service. Hayden took his religion with a more energetic concern for diving into systematic thought than the nigh-nominalism he say with most people at the school, putting aside mentions of some family act of ‘folk piety’.
He thought to himself how he could obviously be a ‘good Catholic’ even if he was going back to a public place in more than nominal ways. After all, wouldn’t that be something the populace here would continue doing when going to university. Such thoughts, rose up in his head amongst the fear of sticking around with other teachers in the clandestine math department, which included men like the brother of the principal. Men who stuttered around like ‘Goodfellas’ high on the rarefication they’d have because of the power impressions teaching something as complicated and esoteric to many like math could evoke. Hayden saw right through this and though *enough* he was leaving this place.
Thus he thought while he reluctantly gave in the tendency to copy work which Hue so graciously gave leeway for him to do but Hayden so hated to act on. Chellas, a girl so impudent but attractive to Hayden though self-obscuring to him and his ill-defined “weirdness” came over and told Hue about how cool she thought his brother’s name was. “Hayden, I’d respect you more if you didn’t copy Hue”. Chellas said it in a way like Hue with a gentle reprimanding voice, coming yet again from someone who felt annoyance at what he felt like were commentaries on choices he made out of a need to “default to them”, not because he didn’t know any better, as some remarked on the side to Hayden with overt tones of condescending he had to put up with, with glass eyes. He knew damn well, this, what he was putting up was an act though. A final act of tolerance before he GTFO’d out of there.
“Respect me more?” Hayden asked as if just wanting a reiteration of an answer. A gesture which he did out of false necessity, asking about something which ought to be a default to all and any and not specially reserved to those trying to show their feelings.
Even if it was Chellas. “Yes..” she said before turning eyes to Hue again.
“Chellas, if I take French next year it’ll boost my mark”.
“Yeah and it’s probably something I’ll be doing too”. Hayden knew how much she regretted not having simply gone into the French immersion stream on entrance. “ I think that taking another French class..”, “Yeah well Spanish is stupid”,Chellas eyes shifting to dissatisfaction at having been taught by someone with a tendency to ramble in spite of being highly knowledgeable under a layer of dry sternness.
The French immersion students would know. When Hayden’s brows shifted with questioning in mind Chellas abruptly said in continuation “and no, I don’t understand it like you do”. He expressively absorbed the reply and by the time he was about to say something else, Chellas just said “Your weird. That’s all I have to say” before striding her arms back and forth with a self-assurance to a clique at another table. Hayden wondered if she would have any special thoughts upon receiving the e-mail of how he left.
That ever special July, Hayden without too much desperation fueled help from Hue got through the compact version of grade 10 math just fine under the kindly math teacher who taught with a patient and marvellously expounding succinctness which Hayden so treasured in teachers. He wished to have such an ability one day. His way of reciprocating back to life the things he previously did not even realize like so much. When Hayden transferred and was in the functions and relations class, he saw a much more welcoming environment in a much more diverse place. Sweet personalities and an ambience of sweet accommodation abounded but it still filled him with a pity when he saw so many struggle with doing functions, that precursor to calculus and an attribute which was a deal-breaker to so many doing math in spite of a name which he thought would mean something more concrete for many and pragmatically executable. Not that the culmination of years before his adult career would not be without turmoil.
He woke up one morning, rubbing his forehead before the muscular back of his wife, cascaded with auburn hair, greeted him with a question if any, like ‘what’s wrong?’. He smiled thinking about how her last name was Bruhl even though many others said he looked like Daniel Bruhl. By that time Hayden was an analyst of the sort, many didn’t understand who was heading towards the tablet in a study room which was a far cry from the quarter in his old family, living room which always seemed like it had been forgotten for light insulation. He strolled, with the tablet and looking at an online journal say a picture of Chellas, staring at the sky an arm over a man he used to ponder about whether he had a clicking with Chellas. The work of the now political scientist and co-worker of his brother-in-law was something he could scrutinize any time.
He’d been taught by the late Saul Kripke and grateful for that and now being able to say that as a mathematician he was an evidently appealingly employable kind of philosopher. A logician. Albeit one with an aptness of game and chaos theory which helped in elucidating on systems to lay-people like when he led a team through the seeming convolutions of geodesy needed for GPS software. When he was younger it confounded him how lacking a rationale for the causality of arithmetic was given to him by teachers but now he could understand Frege and Husserl to get to the roots of that and still say come off as an achiever to a conventional crowd.
Sometimes the resolve to find solutions came to him in how even when looking upon the expressions in very dissimilar fields he could transform it to fill in gaps which he found hand in turning to something more particularly relevant to him. It was like coming across a quote you thought would fill in excellently for a written work.
Reading through the online news on a computer he nicknamed “the Tarski”, he saw things which still reminded him of the scandal which erupted when the other school board’s nepotism was exposed before reaching to an edit of an infotainment comic book of sorts he was working on. “A cartoon guide to automated reasoning”, yet another entry in a series including trigonometry and a history of logic which he worked on without too much help from Larry Gonick,who was picking up in years. He remembered how he had trouble reading Gonick’s book on algebra because of voices of his former math teacher Mr. Gelvo getting to him.
There was a thought though which got to him. Right after having transferred high school he called Hue and told him about how he made it to which Hue said “That’s cool Hayden. By the way Mr. Gelvo died”. The old man, who he felt had no idea of what a hard time he gave him. That final year of his teaching, he had passed away. Among the thoughts of the uncanny instance of when this took place was a thought which got to him. While his religious thoughts had changed drastically from the time of his early teens, the thought about people peering at him from the afterlife (even if it was a good one) and intervening in the lives of those they knew got to him. Could it be possible that the Gelvo, whom he thought of so often with the offending verb “screw” before his name, had let him thrive out of some sympathy for what the situation which students of his like Hayden found themselves in?.
It plainly creeped him out how maybe he only got to see, understand, communicate, clarify, embrace, show and stay with the information which he could handle and generate with an ‘economy of mental movement’ which wasn’t disingenuous, because some inconsiderate with obliviousness ,jerk of a teacher had realized what deficiencies he had left for others after the fact. And what a ‘fact’ it’d be for him to have been intervening from the other side! It’d be way beyond what grip of modalities he had.
At lunch, Hayden was worrying about how he was going to deal with communicating with his kids when they learned how to foul-mouth was actually more of a concern to him than whatever some of the brightest minds in industry could dish at him. He wouldn’t let his cohorts struggle simply because of generations from the mind which went without analysing and he wouldn’t let his kids suffer like he did.
He could say that because he felt that his work could speak for itself and some things go without speaking which sure as heck applied to the non-verbal nature of what he had to do. However, it was the love he had found and used to adapt to the world even with its non-sense and the frustrations of not being able to respond which got him through the day. There are many versions of what he could have become but he was sated with having gotten to the point where he was even with infinitesimal agitations like what happened to him at the first high school he went too.