"Schools are going to be all run by computers now. It won't be long before everything is on that internet. What will you do instead of teaching?"
My mother-in-law and I were driving to exercise class together. We had been discussing my neice's education in the car when she posed this question to me.
I was a little taken aback. Linda is not affiliated with education in any way. She doesn't even have a computer, so I have no idea where she is getting this idea. I am a high school teacher who knows how to use the internet and I highly doubt the entire education systen will transition into completely virtual teaching any time soon. But there is no arguing with Linda, so I shrug and say, "I'm going to be a stay-at-home mom."
"Oh, you won't want to do that forever, Sandy. You'll have to do something when the kids grow up."
I sigh. Why is she making me think fifteen years in the future? I have enough to think about in this decade to worry about the next. But now I feel guilty for not instantly having a plan for when my hypothetical children grow up and my hypothetical future job disappears to a hypothetical virtual teaching system.
"Well, they'll need someone to run the virtual classes," I attempt. She interrupts,
"You never know, Sandy. There will still be too many teachers left over. Those jobs will be filled."
I wonder desperately what she wants me to say.
"I am going to be a writer." I blurted out the plans I didn't even know I had before I had a chance to keep the words in. A ripple of fear shoots through me. Why did I say that? It's too precious, too tenuous a dream to speak out loud to someone I barely trust.
She has nothing to say for a few seconds. I force myself to breathe and smile faintly, gripping my arm-rest until my knuckles ache.
"Oh," she finally says. "That will be nice."
"Yeah," I say and relax my deathgrip on the arm rest. Suddenly my plan seems legitimate. Of course I'm going to be a writer. How could I have ever thought otherwise?