An incomplete weekend of everything

Friday night, went to a poetry contest awards ceremony that one of my students was supposed to be at. This involved a long, drawn-out trek to the South Side at 7pm, with my friend Karen, and a pre-reading stop at Popeye’s Chicken, which involved spending approximately one hour enclosed in a chicken-fume-filled room while one of the other patrons detailed his long life history to us. Once at the reading, we sat through the two-hour presentation of a certificate to every single entrant. My student was not there at all.

Saturday night, went to see a show called “an incomplete map of everything” last night, and it was boring as all get-out, so we left during the intermission, right after the 20-minute recitation of weather reports and before the 50-minute reading of pieces of biographies. (I swear to you. Art does not have to be inaccessible and boring to be edgy, people!) We were donning mittens and coats in the hallway when the arty-hippy ticket-taking woman, with the sad eyes, said they were about to begin seating again. My friend Jeff told her, very earnestly, that he’d just received a text message saying that his dog was sick.

Now, working on my unfinished midterm paper (on ADHD — but I can’t focus on it. Ha!), unfinished lesson plans, drinking a cold cup of coffee. I just talked to my friend Kate on the phone and told her that I was creating the final test to give my students tomorrow for our most recent unit, which had been something of a disaster. She asked me what we’d been doing, and I told her that we’d done some Malcolm X, some articles from the New York Times, and that “finally I just broke down and started giving them teenage stories written in the vernacular.” She found this hilarious.

Procrastinating by going through my archives from this time last year, and the year before, and the year before….


Friday, March 12, 2004

“You were the kid in school who always did her projects wrong, weren’t you?” — Brooke, my co-worker


The essence of that feeling is so pertinent. Brooke was saying this totally good-naturedly, but dammit, it’s TRUE.

Waiting in the wings

So I was feeling like doom and death these past few days, due to a hearty throat infection, fever, cough/cold combo. However, despite this, I decided to go to a “callback” audition for an improv show based (somehow, don’t ask me how) on the theme of Dungeons & Dragons. This callback occurred at 10:15pm last night. What? Why do I do these things to myself? The good thing was that I really enjoyed the people around me. The bad… was… sucking at the audition. I keep running into myself, a glass wall that I continually forget about and knock against like a confused bird. I am not naturally good at improv, at all. Some people have natural traits that astound, amaze; they are magic in their element. Me? Some days I can barely step onstage, because it means declaring something, making a movement, rocking the boat and maybe sloshing the rations out of the canoe, and sometimes I can’t bring myself to do it.

A very similar phenomenon occurs in my teaching. I don’t make any changes to the mediocre/suckiness because I am afraid that the new thing will actually, somehow, be worse than what already exists.


Also, just to continue with the self-indulgent self-analysis, I am doing a paper on ADHD for grad school. This is me.

Starting with capital letters and working our way to lowercase

Much as happened. This includes: auditioning for improv shows (and not getting called back — but so it goes), buying thrift store wool skirts and wearing them over jeans, taking -1 degree days as a lovely opportunity for a stroll, seeing a child’s history of bombing, reconnecting with younger sister christina, ice cream with caleb and object-work cigarettes, trying to get eliina’s dog henry to come within 2 feet of caleb by plying henry with chicken jerky, unpacking, unpacking, unpacking, and then — ok, school. yes, school, where i have blacked out many days, where a girl was hauled out of my room in handcuffs and i completely forgot the entire incident until the drive home, because so much else happened that day, school where i found out my position will most likely be cut next fall, school where i am learning each day the things that i need, as my therapist says, to survive, school where on thursday we almost felt like a unit, where i laughed at three boys dramatically reading a short story in ham-it-up fashion, and i urged them all to come to drama club, and some of them did, and i was so gleeful until another teacher entered our very first meeting and told me i had to cancel it because a parent was waiting to see me, and they all mean well, everyone, except maybe the school board? but damn, i am threading at the seams and knitting everything back together so we all stay whole.

categorically speaking

most people label their boxes in standard categories when they move — kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room, books, misc. i was packing today and realized that i could also create categories for those items that surface only at moving time, washed ashore suddenly, into my vision again. my packing has been slowed by these things, silt and debris that i absolutely must ponder over, turn over in my palm, finger the wounds, mull, marvel at. i could label boxes by era and fill each box with ex-boyfriends pictures, CDs boys made me that i don’t listen to anymore, manuals for computer programs i don’t use anymore, birthday cards i can’t throw away, letters from my grandmother that i never wrote back to, used books bought for $1 and still unread, t-shirts from college programs, priscilla shirk’s shower curtain that i never put up, magazines that might make for collage material, skeins of yarn that i will never knit with, hammers and screwdrivers from my grandfather in case something needs fixing, dvds i don’t watch, and one or two that i never returned to the video store, piles and piles of teaching materials that i don’t know how to use, journals that i haven’t cracked open in years, old dayplanners with only a few weeks of entries, postcards from plays, shows and art exibits i never went to, magazine articles i saved because i might need them again someday, an unopened thermometer, a coat with the tags still on, and letters i wrote on my typewriter at 2am but never sent to anyone.

I’m throwing out a lot. But definitely not everything.