Room 221 is becoming a bastion for the awkward creative types in my school, between Dr. C’s seniors and my freshmen. The sweet quiet ones with creative talents have become our groupies. We’ve so far got a jaded poet,a pop-soul piano player, a cartoonist, and –the latest addition– a horror novelist. Ricky stopped by after school with a spiral notebook filled with a teenage horror novel in progress. It was about a guy his age, (and his girlfriend — because if it’s your book, you get the girl), and their misadventures trying to avoid science experiments gone wrong, including zombies and vampires. It was highly suspenseful and pretty adorable. Every time they came upon an obstacle, the kids used the standard teen expressions, “Dang!” and “Oh, snap!” to express their fright or frustration.

Also horrific, we came in one day to find “F— Their Birthdays” scrawled across the May calendar near where several students had penned in their birthdays. (Omission of obscenity mine.) It was so senselessly mean that it was actually kind of funny. Screw the days they were BORN.

Additionally, I think 221 is haunted. There’s one computer where the CD tray keeps popping in and out without warning when I’m in there alone.

Not counting.

I am not counting down the days of school. But there are 14 teaching days left. I’m just saying. I’m trying to design an end-of-year project for them these days, taking grad school exams, frazzled, scattered, almost there.

A long drive, a marriage, a long drive

And so much more. Jeff is slowly compiling his trip memories here. We got saved by Granny and her Country Kitchen, slept in a murder den, ate ourselves silly on Sonic, sipped lattes in New Orleans, saw a marriage in masks, drove many miles listening to country and belting out the choruses as soon as we learned them. A lot of stuff happened in four days.

Back at school

Today was not horrible. Seriously. No, really. I know you think I’m lying. But it’s true. I did not end up in tears. Several kids were charming. There was much yelling and general craziness, but no fights, no extreme rudeness, and no assaults. My favorite thing lately is talking to the seniors, because I don’t have them in class, so they have no negative emotions toward me at all. Jason and Daija, both the artsiest kids I’ve ever met, would be an awesome two-person comedy team with the way they banter back-and-forth, breezily insulting each other.

Daija: Anyhow…. (silence)

Jason: Anyhow what? You can’t just say “anyhow” without following it up with something. That’s like slapping someone and then apologizing. You just don’t do that.

We’re in Missouri!

And we’re on our way home. Henri’s wedding was a lovely, cozy time; more soon. Right now we’re in a Days Inn, next to a Sonic, next to a Break Time. (Sonic and Break Time are my two favorite chains of the trip.) We’ve listened to 7 straight hours of country music. I had a cheeseburger for lunch. Tomorrow the madness winds down and we return to Chicagoland.

This Subway has wireless

So we’re at the Subway in Amite, Louisiana, using their wireless and having our healthiest meal of the trip. See, we’ve been eating a lot of Sonic lately. Henri’s wedding is tonight. I have no idea what to expect. Probably a marriage of some sort. Jeff and I have completely downshifted into “South” mode, which means that today we thought nothing of driving half an hour to the Subway in Amite because we saw a sign outside advertising wireless. We ain’t got nothin’ else to do on a Sunday. More news later.