Finding a Solution

Posted: August 10, 2014 by writingsprint in Drama
Tags: , , , , , ,

trigonometry

Ron jumped as his sister Kristi poked him in the ribs. “Don’t tickle me while I’m studying!”

“I won’t,” she said. She went into the kitchen, probably to get a snack. Mom was making spaghetti for dinner. He heard them chatting as Kristi opened the door to the refrigerator.

All right, back to it. Trigonometry. Ron rested his head on the heel of his hand. cot x cos^2 x = 2 cot x. Solve for x. In a sick way, he actually liked trig. It was the cross country running of math. Brutal. Intense. Not for the timid. Ron wasn’t good at it but he liked the challenge.

Move everything to the left side of the equals sign. Factor out cot x…

Kristi poked him in the ribs on the way out of the kitchen. Ron jumped again. She laughed at him with a small bowl of celery sticks in her free hand.

“Jesus Christ, Kris, will you knock it off?”

“You’re working so hard. You needed to lighten up.”

“Stop messing with my head.”

“Kristi, leave him alone,” Mom said.

“Whatever,” Kristi whispered. She went into the living room and sat on the couch to watch TV.

Ron rubbed his ribs. Now he had a ticklish feeling in both sides of his body that wouldn’t go away because he was mad. He glanced at Kristi. He thought he saw her smiling. She took trig last year and had a harder time with it than he did. Why couldn’t she give him a break?

He took a few breaths. Let it go. Let it go already. He felt better by the time he finished the third one.

Okay. Factor out cot x. So that puts the equation into two pieces. Figure out when those pieces equal zero…

Ron worked his way through the problem. This was where it went from mechanical to conceptual. You had to know what the different trig functions looked like, when they equaled zero or blew up to infinity.

He was about to wrap up when he heard footsteps to his right. Ron was about to cover his ribs with his elbow when Kristi jabbed him again first. She laughed. “I’m sorry, was that a bad time?”

Ron jumped out of his chair. “Knock… it… off!”

“Stop your yelling!” Mom called.

“He’s going nuts!” Kristi said.

“She won’t stop tickling me!”

“I want both of you to behave!” Mom replied.

Ron knew what that meant. Kristi would be nice again for about twenty minutes, than either tickle him again or find another way to get under his skin.

Ron gathered up his books as Kristi went to drop off the empty bowl. His room wasn’t an option. It didn’t have a desk, and he had too many distractions up there. He had to move somewhere. Either that or it was going to get physical, and that was no good. Mom and Dad had outlawed their little sibling brawls when they turned 10.

Ron sat down at the kitchen table. He piled his cutlery onto his plate and moved it and his glass off to the side. He put his homework down in its place. With his back to the window, he had a table between her and him.

“What are you doing?” Kristi asked.

“I’m studying.”

“Psssht. You’re weird.”

Ron smiled at her. Kristi walked out of the room. He actually hated studying in here. It was noisy, the chair was half as comfortable, and he didn’t have room to spread out.

“Ron, you can’t stay there,” Mom said.

Ron looked at her. “Mom, this is me behaving.”

She sighed. “I’ll talk to her.” She went back to fixing dinner.

All right. Back to it.

By the way, you can read the solution to Ron’s trig problem here 🙂 .

Photo credit: “Image from page 141 [etc.]” from Internet Archive Book Images
Photo is unmodified
Shared under Creative Commons license

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