We opened packets and eased out pasta,
Dried spaghetti, long and brittle,
Snapping easily, as the toddler runs
Excitedly, through the chaos that’s descended
On the kitchen, fogged with nervous energy.
It must be strong! he shouts, brandishing the sugar,
Half a kilogram, that bridge must hold.
I wipe away the sweat and disappointing scent;
I should have studied engineering, something useful
At Edinburgh University, where I’d have made
A vaccine or a rocket or the tallest building I could dream,
Rather than those petty dreams of Bennet sisters
Running through the fields….
The man that I am sharing a tutor group with is a Design and Technology teacher so he is responsible for getting the kids doing some fun STEM activities during lockdown.
Last week we were all supposed to make a balloon powered car and this week we are all going to have a go at making a bridge out of dried spaghetti. They’re all good fun and they teach engineering skills at the same time.
However, I do sometimes find myself battling with the rubber bands and sticky tape, wondering if I have made some bad decisions throughout my life. I think about the kids that are making these projects now and what they will go on and accomplish and then about what use I am to society.
I know that kindness and supporting other goes a long way, but I do sometimes get some grand ideas about having designed a bridge that would be driven over and admired for hundreds of years. Or being involved in the first team to get man on Mars.
I’ll never get the chance to achieve those things now, but hopefully one day I can write the next classic that will be read and loved for many years to come. It may not be as breathtaking as a bridge, but as long as it brings joy, that is all that we can hope for.