Anne's never really liked sitting alone in a waiting room, especially since she's only 15. She keeps imagining people doing things to her, even though she's pretty sure no one would bother her in a hospital waiting room, while her parents are in the back, seeing a doctor. But still.
At least this time around there's not a creepy 40-something-year-old man trying to hit on her. At the time, she felt frozen to the spot while she wanted nothing more than to slap him into the next county. No, this time, there's an older white lady and a younger Hispanic lady keeping her company.
Looking back, she's not quite sure how the whole conversation started. They were all chatting and then the subject of home schooling came up. Having only ever been home schooled, Anne saw nothing wrong with it, though she has been told she's stupid and that she's deprived of a 'real' education before by her 'friends'. In fact, she's glad she never truly went to public school. She feels like she's better off because she hasn't.
The older lady, who used to be a teacher, starts off talking about her career, and then begins talking about how they used to do PE with several kids who were home schooled. "It was sad," she said. "The kids looked terrified of each other. It was like the guys had never seen girls and the girls had never seen boys before. They had no idea how to interact. They're so socially deprived."
Anne had been talking to her, but at the last, the older lady looked at the younger one. "Yes, they are," the lady said. "I know a lady who home schools her kids and I see them at Walmart every so often. They're about 15 and 17 and those two girls hang onto their mom and looks around at the other people with these huge eyes, scared, like they've never seen other people before."
"I'm afraid that when these people go out to get jobs when they're older that they won't be able to fit in with anyone because they'll lack the necessary social skills," the older lady said with a sad shake of her head.
Anne wasn't one to get mad at strangers, but she found herself a little ticked. They don't know you're home schooled, she reminds herself. She simply crossed her legs and leaned forward. "I don't think all kids are that way," she told the two ladies.
"Oh, of course not," the older lady chimed in. "There are the few that do interact with people in their church or whatever, but by and large they are socially deprived." She glanced at the other lady. "I'm also worried about what they're learning. How can we be sure they're even being taught correctly? There's no way to know."
"They all get tested by the state," Anne said sharply.
The older lady raised an eyebrow. "How do you know?"
Anne sits up straighter, trying to keep the building anger and annoyance off her face and keep on the neutral look her mother had always taught her to keep when faced with something where she needed (or wanted) to look intimidating. "Because I've been home schooled my whole life."
The younger lady quickly excused herself, seemingly to distant herself from what she'd been saying and agreeing with for the last fifteen or so minutes. The older lady just raised both of her eyebrows and fell silent. Anne let her eyes narrow briefly before turning back to the book she'd brought with her. She tried to calm down, but soon realized it wasn't happening. It was just her and the older lady left in the room, and there was no way she was going to talk to her any more.
She was worried that, if she did, she would tell the lady what she thought of home schooled kids being demeaned. In the end, she stared at the TV, which was playing reruns of old Nick shows she never really liked while she waited for her parents to come or the lady to leave. Whichever came first.