Adult Learning on the Main Line

Enroll now to sip wine, hypnotize yourself and stop getting older!

I’m totally ready for structure in my life again. I love summer, but the heat, humidity and bathing suits wear thin after a few months. By the time September rolls around I’m psyched for schedules and new challenges. I love the whole fresh start thing that September offers. And there’s nothing that offers more fresh-start choices than the Main Line School Night catalog. I don’t think my university offered this broad a selection of courses. Certainly not this many fun ones, anyway.

Perusing the MLSN catalog is like a journey of possibilities. On just the first page alone they entice you with one course called “Bring Your Ancestors to Life.” Tempting, but I’m going to pass on this one because knowing my family, there’s a fairly good chance they’d be dysfunctional and I’d want to send them back to where they came from. The next page advertises a course on how to social network. I’d like to stop these poor techotard souls in the parking lot and save them from the ungodly time suck and nuisance that are Facebook and Twitter. These people should be redirected to “Advanced Wine Tasting,” where they’d surely have more fun.[SIGNUP]

A few flips of the page, and there’s a class called “Behind the Scenes at the Rittenhouse Hotel.” I’d love to know who signs up for that, because that’s got to be a niche market. Among other things, they take you to see the suites celebrities stay in, so you can feel like you live in servants’ quarters when you get home. They also take you on a tour of the pastry kitchen at Le Bec-Fin, which I hope the students know isn’t in, or even part of the hotel. Hopefully, the tour will take place before they’re carting out the chocolate-making machine when the restaurant ceases operations.

There is a cooking class to appeal to every person in the region. Seriously. “Hearty, Healthy Greens to Please All Palates.” “Risotto Rules!” “Much Ado About Gnocchi.” And then there are the Specialty Foods courses, because these apparently weren’t specialized enough. Whoever names the classes should get a job with the OPI nail polish people. “Tutti Fruitti Tonga” could easily be interchangeable with an MLSN dance class.

You can learn every kind of dance, practice every type of fitness, and even take the class called “Secrets to Slowing Down the Aging Process,” which should be a sell-out. As should “Pelvic Health and Fitness,” although, sadly, it’s only one session. I’d want a whole semester of tilts and kegels. You can learn to self-hypnotize, draw and paint, make jewelry, garden, organize, clean, start a business or polish up your resume. You can even take Irish Gaelic Conversation, which has to be in great demand. I know I often think to myself, if only I spoke Irish Gaelic, I could communicate with … leprechauns. Or maybe my dysfunctional ancestors. Which would go perfectly with the lecture they offer on “Celtic Pets and Celtic People.” What’s a Celtic pet?

I’m mulling over the usefulness of learning the Mountain (lap) Dulcimer. We actually have one of these in my daughter’s closet from her Kindermusik days. Be nice to get some use out of it, although I doubt anyone wants to sit through my dulcimer recitals. Maybe “Painless Piano” would be better, since I hate those pain-inducing pianos. I could “Become a DJ!” instead. Or do improv. It’s all there.

Apparently if I take “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” in six weeks of Wednesday evenings I could banish my anxiety, although after 10 years of having it, I think that’s a bit optimistic. Maybe getting a “Boating Safety Certification” would ease watercraft-specific anxiety though. There are ample games and sports one could learn: Mah-Jongg, Bridge, Fencing, Golf and the ever-popular Japanese Swordsmanship. That last one will be in demand, I’ll bet. MLSN will take you places too. You can go kayaking, hiking and on walking tours of various and assorted places. They’ll even take you on a tour of London! (The real one, not the one in Ontario.)

It really is enticing to flip through and imagine learning some of these things. I wish there was enough time in the week to take Drawing, Art History, Calligraphy and the Argentine Tango. Last year I took the Tarot Card Reading course, which was fun and really interesting. My neighbors were a bit worried that I’d be hanging a sign on the lawn, setting up a card table on my front porch, and donning a turban — which would have been worth doing to see their reaction. I think this might be the year to work on my French language skills, although “The Anatomy of Evil” class looks hard to pass up. Then again, there are always the writing workshops… Maybe I could finally learn how to write!