Monday, November 7, 2016


Please, lower your expectations.

Little lower.

I'm writing to you this morning from the comfort of my own home. I'm in my pajamas. My coffee's in a mug, as opposed to the thirty-ounce Yeti I fill & bring to school with me every morning, lest I end up curled in a ball under my desk, or physically assault a student. They may giggle at that threat of assault; recently I was told I am "chill," however it is in fact the coffee that sustains the "chill." Today & tomorrow classes are canceled to, & I quote my employer's website, "maintain the integrity of the 2016 election." Isn't that a hoot?! As if. 

Truly these two days could not have come at a more opportune time. I need more than the extra hour we gained - or rather the hour that was returned to us after we were robbed of it in the spring - in the wee hours of Sunday morning. I've been struggling lately. Last week what I initially thought was an insignificant sinus matter snowballed into full-on laryngitis by Tuesday, followed by four days of sinus pressure so intense if I moved my head too quickly the world began to spin.

The all over pressure has finally abated, but sadly there's something unpleasant happening with my right ear now. I am hoping some Benadryl at night & my regular Advil Cold & Sinus during the day will take care of the issue. Believe it or not my voice is still not 100%. Between school & having two small children, vocal rest is just not a possibility for me. At one point last week, Trey told the kids I had lost my voice & needed to talk as little as possible. After Trey left the room, Henry immediately said, "Mama, Mama!," repeatedly until I scratched out a "Yes?" at which time he said, "Where did your voice go?" From then on I avoided the phrase "lost my voice" so as to not confound his literal heart.

Frustrations mounted in the classroom as well. Last week my AP students were put in groups & assigned old AP Exam questions. I could overhear the groups discussing possible novels they'd theoretically use to answer their given prompts, & there were of course a thousand things I wanted to butt in & say, yet all I could do was sit at my desk, mute & in pain, & keep rubbing the aching bones in my face. It was a good week for my ego though as I finally felt somewhat vindicated for making them read As I Lay Dying. As I read through the old test questions, seemingly every other question could potentially be answered using As I Lay Dying. It is a thematic goldmine. There's a physical journey, a significant but largely absent character, a death scene, adultery leading to an illegitimate son, an array of dysfunctional characters, & a selfish, self-absorbed parent. They think I don't have a plan but I do have a plan. The next part of the plan is convincing them The Awakening is amazing. Step one is to get them to put their phones down & transport them to the Louisiana coast, circa 1899. Updates to follow.

I suppose you assumed today's post would be dedicated not to my sinuses, but perhaps to this weekend's sad (but still somewhat oddly satisfying) loss to Saban, &/or tomorrow's election. I recently reread some of what I posted four years ago on the precipice of Obama's reelection. I cared a whole lot, apparently. Winston Smith has been on my mind lately. He is, of course, the protagonist in Orwell's 1984. His journey is a somewhat sad one as he initially takes risks to investigate & oppose Big Brother, but, ** spoiler ** finally yields.

I don't think you'll find me in a corner drooling, a note reading, "But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. She had won the victory over herself. She finally loved Nick Saban Trump," in my hand, but for all my fervor four years ago, I am, well, tired. I'm older, too. I'm working full time, too. I have two kids now, too.

In the sixteen years since I first voted for president, nothing has sucked the political wind out of me quite the way this election has. It's not that I no longer care; it's that I see that caring tremendously got me nowhere. Nada. The party I once loved is, in my opinion, in shambles. Tomorrow, for the first time since being eligible to do so, I will not vote for the Republican nominee for president. I am actually relieved to say that because eight years ago & four years ago I was not at all enthusiastic about the nominee for whom I voted & I felt kind of terrible after doing so. I suppose tomorrow I will celebrate a freedom of sorts, even if it is one few other people celebrate or even understand. Tomorrow I won't be Winston Smith; I will be Edna Pontellier . . . do you, do see what I did there? I have had a political awakening of sorts, & truly it's been a long time coming.

Understand that I am not, absolutely not, voting for Hillary. I recently had a student tell me the reason he's on a short list of my favorite students is because his political views skew to the left of mine (but I mean, whose don't?) & I subconsciously am drawn to him for that reason. He is of course wrong & I told him so, but thanked him for the psychoanalysis. Somewhere in the middle of all that we had a little spat that another student surreptitiously captured on film so again, as I've mentioned, maintaining my voice at full throttle remains a struggle, but when you have to argue with a student, you have to argue with a student.

I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow; I am making no election prediction because right now I don't know what's going to happen in my classroom Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday. My world has become so small lately, & I don't mind it. I am so consumed by taking care of my kids & making it from one day to the next in the classroom that I don't have the time or energy to do more than pray about the election . . . & ask my dad how I should vote on all the proposed amendments on our local ballot, of course.

I'm tired. I am weary. I'm contemplating the future of the blog. At our last meeting, I was prepared to tell the book club ladies I was going to bow out for the month of November. I know. I'd wrestled with the decision, but I knew I would not have time to read the book & wanted to get a jump start on Emma, December's book, which I need to read because I'm toying with the idea of reading it with the AP lovelies at some point in the spring. Obviously I also need to read it because it is Jane Austen's Emma & I've never read it & am told by women whose opinion I value that they love Mr. Knightley more than Mr. Darcy. I need to read it because reading brings me joy. I love finally crawling in bed at night knowing my fictional friends are waiting for me, but the reading is just not happening lately because I can't stay awake for even five minutes once I finally get in bed at night.

What the book club has collectively decided to do is skip November entirely, giving all of us additional time to read Emma, which we'll discuss at this year's final meeting in mid-December. Our final meeting of the year has become a really lovely time when we discuss a classic (our December books have been Sense and Sensibility, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice . . . you get the idea). We also have a book exchange & make a list of what we're going to read each month in the year to come. As always, we eat & enjoy being ALL BY OURSELVES while husbands &/or grandmothers watch our kids.

I am, as always, behind on essay grading & I need to get students their next writing prompt stat . . . but I have to finish typing it up & nail down a couple of details of which I remain unsure. I could continue with this to-do list (which would include folding five weeks worth of laundry) but it would likely be uninteresting to you so I won't. I can report that Reagan's loose tooth broke free on Thursday during her lunch at school. There was no pulling & no blood, thankfully. She opted out of the tooth fairy Thursday night because she wanted to show her grandparents the tooth, & so the tooth fairy's visit was delayed until Friday evening.

Tomorrow, barring the Lord's return, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be elected president. That is out of my hands . . . literally it is because I live in a solid red state & so you can show me clever memes & cry about the Supreme Court & such but in all honesty I tuned all that out circa July. I think the only option left to me is to focus on what I can control, which is grading the remaining essays, keeping the kids happy, fed, & healthy, & putting together a semblance of a plan for the remaining weeks of school (which are dwindling quickly) before Christmas descends.

I am also focusing on the upcoming Thanksgiving Break, the new episodes of Gilmore Girls to be released on November 25, & the eyeliner pencil I just ordered from Nordstrom; it has great reviews & is waterproof so regardless of what happens tomorrow across America or in my classroom on Wednesday, no one will know if I am crying.

Love to you all,


No comments:

Post a Comment