Six years later in Modern World Problems class, Cindy sits at the same table as Van and Suvee while Miss Glaciermelt talks about the last years of humanity; the Pre-Post-Humanity era.
Miss G: “As the climate changed, the ocean’s chemical composition mutated, and the ecosystems of the earth started to fail. And then many of the non-human animals started attacking humans. Even their pet dogs and cats – their fluffy domesticated hug slaves – started hacking their masters to death with their claws.
Tell us, Cindy, how many squirrels would it take to kill an average-sized polar bear?” Miss Glaciermelt stops and bites her upper lip with her lower teeth.
Cindy’s face pales and a frown takes shape as the skin droops off her skull. She is starting to experience the same squirrel terror that she felt that night with her dad in front of the rusty old Sam Walton statue.
The teacher leans on Cindy’s laptop:
Miss G: “Let us know when the flashback’s over.”
Miss Glaciermelt is the most inappropriate teacher at Saint Teddy Consolidated. She seems to be reveling in Cindy’s panic attack – rolling around in Cindy’s pain to try to cover the smell of her own fear.
The lecture continues, but Cindy’s completely tuned out and thinking about the squirrels that time in the park. Squirrels finally went extinct in her freshman year, at which point her frightened mother famously said, “Good riddance!” Cindy cried for three months,and almost failed Grade 10 because of this thoughtless remark by Orca. Parents don’t always understand the fears of their own children – they’re only bears themselves.
Cindy finally reemerges from her flashback, and scrambles to put together a decent question to make up for not paying attention earlier on. She needs participation points this semester because of a C- on her mid-term.
Cindy clears her throat:
Cindy: “Um, Miss Glaciermelt, today’s lesson has been problematic. I mean, isn’t it strange how the humans are always the bad guys in our Modern World Problems class. What about the other species, like us? Weren’t we just as invasive and greedy as the humans were? Didn’t we abuse technology as well?
And also, why the heavy emphasis on human sushi consumption? Isn’t this just a reflection of the polar-bear-o-centrism of our texts? I don’t think raw fish ever made up more than 1% of the human diet. What other polar bear features do we superimpose on these creatures that – now that they’re extinct – can’t represent themselves?
This entire lecture reeks of what Ed-bear Sayeed calls Humanentalism?”
Miss G: “Thank you, Cindy. You may have a valid point.”