Yes, I took in the rat. I put the rat in a box of spinach and when I came home the rat was still alive. And I gave the rat some water and some masticated peas (self-masticated!) and I named him Brutus. Satchmo doesn't care about Brutus because he appears to be perpetually near death. Brutus doesn't care about masticated peas.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The other most interesting thing that happened today was that my car exploded. MY CAR EXPLODED. I have had it BACK for exactly 3 days, world. All this smoke started coming out of the dash and then the whole car was full of smoke and flames were coming out of the hood and the dash got really hot and burned my legs. And this really sweet security guard tried to fix it but it was futile. Then I started crying really hard because it was FUCKING SCARY and we just put all this money into getting the car fixed and WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN TO ME EVERY TIME I NEED AN AUTOMOTIVE SITUATION TO WORK OUT?!
So then I got in Kristen's car and BAWLED. Just. BAWLED. And went to PTP and was a total bitch and BAWLED when Joe told me I was a psychopath. I just acted like a juvenile. I guess I must have decided that I was FED UP with trying so hard to pull myself out of the tremendous, sweeping mess that was the last three months, and in response Life said, "fuck you, Sophie."
At school the kid who lashed out at me last week gave me a-bordering-on-inappropriate hug. He is so closed off I found myself bragging about this to my co-worker, who said, "Good for you!" in a totally genuine way. And that is possibly the only time anyone has ever been wholesomely congratulated for being inappropriately touched by a 17-year-old-boy.
Satchmo had his first real-life WWE cage-fight with a cockroach today. And let me tell you: THAT COCKROACH WAS THE SIZE OF SATURN. At the least, it was a hell of a lot bigger than Brutus. Satchmo chased him all over the house and down the stairs and eventually out the door. Well, you win some and you lose some, but it's a rare day when you have an honest-to-goodness tie.
Also, Radar Magazine finally came in the mail today (along with a new issue of The Week). Which makes today an officially good mail day. I guess Clay Aiken is actually gay. Huh.
Okay so I woke up this morning at Lugo's while dog-sitting, went into the kitchen to feed Suki, and felt a tiny cold something on my toes.
I think this is a rat. I'm not sure, because as far as rats go, this thing is pretty adorable. Suki wanted to eat it, but I put it outside. Then I realized that it was DEFINITELY going to die in a really gruesome way if I left it out there... so... I put it in an old spinach container and gave it some snap peas and some water and wrapped it in a blanket. It's probably going to die anyway, right? What am I supposed to do with this thing? Is there any way of saving this baby whatever-it-is?
This is way more adulthood than I need right now.
I have to go to work. Should I bring baby whatever-it-is to work? WHY am I so LAME that I can't just let things die? What is my fucking deal? I see one innocent creature (PROBABLY A RAT!) and my heart just breaks for it. Let me tell you what I would NOT do: survive in the wild. I would be running from some lion or tiger or something and I'd stop to rescue a wounded deer or something. And then my life would be OVER. PATHETIC.
I woke up at 8 a.m. and watched Raiders of the Lost Arc finally FOR THE FIRST TIME. I'm sorry, universe, but how come NONE OF YOU told me that this was the greatest movie of all time?! NOT ONE OF YOU. You all said it was good, but no one sat me down in a big chair and forced me to watch this movie as you should have. SHAME ON YOU, UNIVERSE. SHAME.
Also: I'm trying to decide which Star Trek is better: Wrath of Khan or First Contact. I get that they're kind of like apples and oranges, but which is better?
Also: I watched Die Hard again today and I'm probably going to watch it again RIGHT NOW and THAT is what makes me so much goddamned fun.
(A note: Many people fail to understand how the percentage system works. You can't just go from 0 percent fun to 100 percent fun, people. It's not like the weather. It does not change erratically. It's gradual growth, you know? Like... weight loss. It's like weight loss. Only it's weight gain, and the "weight" is percentage points of fun and/or general awesomeness. Get it? And, like weight loss, it's easier to pig out on an extra large pizza and gain 25 pounds in one day [am I right ladies?] than it is to lose a significant amount of weight. Except here, it's just much easier to slip back to being 0 percent fun than it is to climb back up to 38 percent. OK? We good? So 37 percent fun is actually HUGE. IT'S HUGE, PEOPLE.)
Today I was actually euphoric. For almost the entire day. At one point I got a feeling of intense ecstasy that I've only ever felt once before (in Larkspur, driving to Berkeley with Alex, staring at the silhouettes of pigeons on a wire against bright blue sky). This time I was in Leah's kitchen making Pad Thai and the original version of "Heartbeats" by Jose Gonzales came on the radio. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
It was a lazy morning spent in bed, talking with Alex and my mom online, contemplating the purchase of the piano. Both of them said Definitely Buy It, so I called the number in the listing for the piano I saw on Craigslist (the owner's name, by the way, is Eugene Antoine III -- which should have been enough for me to buy it without even looking at it), drove out to Mid-City, plunked around for a while, and was instantly in love. I bought it today. There is a picture of it. If you don't find it perfect, you're trippin (Now, before you say anything, I know it only has 66 keys. That's okay with me. I played a lot of high-range/ low-range songs and the sound-quality was so good that it completely made up for the fact that this is a 66-key gigging piano. It's also really light, as far as pianos go, so that's a real plus).
So then I decided my day was basically DONE because I had just BOUGHT A PIANO...
But Hannah Sadtler called and came over to get a haircut. While I waited for her to come, I lounged in Lugo's living room with Suki (I'm dog-sitting this weekend) watching HSN, drinking Peach Iced Tea, and reading Us Weekly (note: I like the name "Lucie" and I think it would be a good name for my potential first daughter. My mother's maiden name is Lucido, so I think Lucie is a nice tribute to that. I decided this when I read that Us Weekly's name of the week was Lucie. Of course, I will never tell future Lucie that that's why I chose her name). And I was absolutely content.
Then Hannah came over and I cut her hair really short and then we went out for Mexican food during Happy Hour. Then we went shopping while we were drunk from our one-margarita-each. I don't remember what I bought. But I spent $54. Oops.
After that we felt really opulent and maybe a little guilty so we went on a long bike ride to Audubon Park and it was INCREDIBLE. Today I fell in love with New Orleans all over again. Driving through Mid-City with the windows rolled down, I watched Saturday families hanging out on their porches drinking iced tea and playing in the sprinkler and thought about how you never get that kind of porch stuff outside the Deep South. Crawfish stands, drive-through daquiri shops, streets named afterintangible nouns and jazz musicians. But the bike ride...
The bike ride: Broken-down cement; basketball games in the street; men playing acoustic guitar on the deck outside; enormous oak trees; families talking about alligators; the dead tree in the middle of the lake heavy from the weight of hundreds of egrets; blue jays and mourning doves and meadowlarks; the man with his guitar and cigarettes and book of Yeats poetry sitting along the levee; vaguely European bike hipsters; enormous barbecue along the river with balloons and extended family; the sunset in all the colors sunsets are supposed to be (burnt copper and hot pink). I know how pretentious and collegey it all sounds, but it was too beautiful not to write down. I thought about Central Park and the Point in Chicago and about Pioneer Park in Walla Walla and even about the waterfront esplanade in Portland... and nothing even holds a candle. My heart is so enormous for New Orleans I feel like I might never leave. I'm in love.
Then to Leah's to make Pad Thai in Mid-City. We played Scrabble and drank cheap wine. My legs got happy-tired and now I feel peaceful.
Tha Carter III is awesome. I think I'm turning into a Rabouin High School student. Which makes me a pretty ineffective teacher. I definitely think pep rallies are awesome. We should have a lot more pep rallies.
Missed the first football game, though. Fuck Mid-City for being in Mid-City.
Tonight I watched the debates, and I was deeply impressed with Obama. He was so intelligent. I think Alex is actually gay for him.
I'm going to buy a piano. And I'm getting it moved in here.
Check out the Canal Place Cinema (turns out there are only four movie theaters in all of New Orleans. So... I'm not going to have very much difficulty going to all of them).
Really? You want more from me? I'M GOING TO BUY A PIANO.
I got Chester (the Volkswagon Corraddo) back today. It is rotting because it flooded hella during Gustav. This is not going to stop me from riding Kim (the bike) all around this bumpy little dirty coast city.
Some people get drunk off one glass of beer and are fun and normal. Some people (most people) DON'T get drunk off one glass of beer. But some people (me) get drunk off one glass of beer and are awful and mean to their favorite people and make them feel shitty even when it's BOARD GAME NIGHT. Next BOARD GAME NIGHT will be beer-free for me.
Today was one of the worst days at work, and one of the best days outside of work.
Things that happened while I was at work:
A farcically busty parent screamed at me about my job, before dissolving into tears about her job.
I accidentally helped a student cheat on a test.
I realized students at Rabouin view studying the way they view taking trips to the center of the earth: only necessary NEVER.
My cat puked all over my floor.
Things that happened while I was not at work:
My bike continued to make me appear about 80 percent more adorable than I actually am.
I saw a cheesy-awesome French movie about WWII with Joe at Tulane (this movie had this line in it: "I wanted to devour her like a hot croissant." Joe and I appropriately laughed overtly at the stereotypical Frenchness of this statement).
More hanging out with Joe; streetcar riding; acting like college kids; being awesome together.
I talked to Kim (non-bike Kim. REAL Kim). More on this soon.
We're getting back up there, folks. Now, look. The length of time it takes me to write this post cannot be longer than my "Banana Yellow" playlist -- which is just Leona Lewis's "Better in Time" (for when I feel like I'm going through a break-up, which is way more often than I am actually ever going through a break-up, if that makes sense), Jesse McCartney's "Leavin'" (yes, that song is by Jesse McCartney and not some black dude. I, too, was initially confused about this), Miley Cyrus's "7 Things" (for when I feel like I'm going through a break-up and I'm also 12 years old), and Taylor Swift's "Our Song" (which is completely unreasonable). I give you the playlist for three reasons: 1) in the interest of total candor, you should know that I choose to listen Top 40 sometimes (read: most of the time); 2) The fact that I listen to Top 40 is TOTALLY FUN, right?; and 3) I am not going to type for long.
As you can see, we're doing better with the funness. This is almost entirely because now I have A BIKE, so I totally BIKED to work and I BIKED back, and I felt completely adorable doing it. I had incredible daydreams about having a cute little wire basket on my bike, and about meeting beautiful bike people with bike soundtracks and bike-a-thons. I'm finally becoming a true Portlander -- ironically, in New Orleans.
And it was a good Joe day. The weather was freaking incredible and we walked down to the Snowball shop on Magazine street and I got a Snowball flavored as "Tigers' Blood" which looks JUST LIKE a ball of ice soaked in blood. And we bought apples for pie-making at Breaux Mart (Joe noticed that there was a split-infinitive on the backs of the gummy alligator packages, causing me to understand completely why I love him so much) and then ate grilled cheese and played one of those really EPIC games of Scrabble (297 - 253. I'm not going to tell you who won. Except that it was TOTALLY ME). By the end of the night I felt redeemed. I'm definitely fun again.
Sentences in these conversations that began with "Today my students..." or "Oh man, my management system..." or "My principal is a...": 0.
At school, by the way, things were okay. Again and again I thought to myself how much I loved my job. I think the highlight of the day was lunch. There is a nice little roster of misfits who like to hide out in the ARC room rather than eat with the other kids, and each and every one of them could appear in a Daniel Clowes graphic novel. Jayda put on disco music and our newest student, Casey, tried to dance with the only girl his age in the room -- emotional, talented, brilliant Debbie (who has just started wearing make-up and looks like a china doll because she's in the bright-blue-shadow/ cherry-red-gloss phase of her make-up wearing life). Avery was singing along and swaying, and Jayda sang with him. Ms. Flora danced, too; Saday looked up new skull-themed accessories on HotTopic.com. And Drevin, the vulgar and offensive boy who is always being called to the office for behavior issues but genuinely means well was just laughing and watching it all. It was kind of like a very dysfunctional family picnic.
I make it sound all wrong. In fact, the room is a mess most of the time, with shouting and screaming and hiding out. But I still love it; every single minute of it. I'm having a blast.
And Avery TOTALLY knows all the vowel sounds now. ALL OF THEM! Jayda might not have meant it, but she said to him today, "I'm so proud of you, Avery; you've learned more in the past two weeks with Ms. Johnson than you have in 21 years of school." And that felt really fucking good.
And now I've reached the end of the playlist. I'm exhausted. Biking... man. Who knew?
I have become an empty flesh shell full of teacher. There is no human person left inside me. But that's actually okay. I think that's what teaching is all about.
PTP is boring. And Monday night is the ONLY night I would EVER want to stay home and watchtelevision. So fuck you, PTP.
Alex and Alli called today, and I think that this is long overdue:
This is Alex and Alli. They're separate people, so I have to address them separately, but know that when their powers combine they form a Superhuman known only as THE GREAT AL and they enforce good and thwart evil using physical strength and awesome gadgets they bought using their mass inheritance from their collective dead parents. This is also the story of Batman, but THE GREAT AL is the real deal. Yes, Batman is fiction. Sorry, kids.
Alli (right) is the only reason I ever log onto GChat. She's really good at: Google Image Search, emoticon hearts, solving cancer, and Fair Trade stuff. She is also really good at playing the guitar in this kind adorably guarded way. Alli's voice sounds the way you would imagine stalks of wheat would sound if they talked. She has a really nice rack. Alli is that one person who never ever seems bored with my drama. I like her a lot and we might be lesbians together someday.
Alex (left) is probably the best person I know. He is actually definitely the best person I know, but I'm shy that someone kind of aggressive will read this and will confront me about it and will demand that I tell them that they are the best person I know. But it's actually Alex. Alex or his mom. But it's one of the two. Alex, like Batman, wears a cape. Unlike Batman, he is also really talented at basically everything he tries (Batman, remember, is only good at solving crime and winning women), which is terribly annoying. Right now he is in Chicago with all the other people I love doing incredible things and walking on BarackObama's turf. As of February 4, 2008, his favorite ice cream flavor was strawberry, his favorite Rolling Stones song was "Melody," and his favorite baked thing was a muffin (isn't that a rather generic baked thing? I mean, really. There are so many different kinds of muffins!) Once we went to a ghost town together. That is how I would describe our relationship.
As for me, my favorite flower-based-solely-on-its-name is the gladiola; my favorite ACTUAL flower is the dogwood; my favorite dinosaur is the Anatotian, my favorite Muppet Baby is Fozzie, and my favorite Photoshop Image Filter is "Gausian Blur."
Still trying to get funner by the moment. I increased a percent right then by incorporating the words "Gausian Blur" into my blog entry. And one earlier for incorporating the words "flesh shell."
It's taking everything in me to get up and go to school. What is wrong with me? I cried all night, and my eyes are completely swollen and I still can't seem to stop. This came out of nowhere; I have no idea what my problem is. I'm an emotional basketcase at heart. And what's worse -- I'm an emotional basketcase who publishes her emotions on the Internet.
Right now I am the least fun person in all of New Orleans. I want to watch "Love Story" and eat Haagan Daas. Going back to school and seeing the kids seems impossible. What do I have to teach them anyway?
When we were in Washington, D.C. together, Grant told me How I Met Your Mother was the greatest show he had ever seen. And now I realize that that is because it is the greatest show ever given to television and if they ever cancel it I will jump off my roof.
Big, big increases today. It was a bit rainy ... cold, thundery, sad... I missed folks from home, from Whitman... and that felt... emptying. It's terribly difficult to describe my emotions. It's fake-happy, but real-happy at the same time. It's avoiding-thinking-about-something-happy and I guess that's okay for now. I only have a vague sense of what I'm avoiding thinking about. It's a number of unfinished businesses (businesses? Just go with it). I think the best way to describe it is Purgatorial. Is that even a word? It sounds like an editorial you'd write for the Purgatory Newsletter. "The Limbo Letter: News Source for All Those Who Are Stuck in the Middle."
So anyway, I guess the best way to put this is that I'm not necessarily more HAPPY, but I'm CERTAINLY more fun. At least I'm putting forth the effort, eh?
I bought a bicycle. Look at it. That's a photograph of it. Have you ever seen a more adorable bicycle? Maybe that will justify the $200 price tag. But somehow, that's just how much bicycles seem to cost here in New Orleans. I don't really get it. There's a pretty good bike culture here, but it's like GNO never got the memo that used bikes are supposed to be kind of dirt cheap. Otherwise what would the dumpster-diving DIY kids do?
I also cleaned the house, baked two dozen cupcakes, helped my neighbor wax her legs (I went to bring her cupcakes, but you never know when someone is going to be struggling with Sally Hansen), and finally changed the cat litter. I discussed Imagismwith Marianne, which was therapeutically pretentious, and that was all great. I went to Kinkos and got my car registered and left about 16,000 voice messages from West-Coasters and Chicagoans.
I spent a lot of time with Joe today, which was really good. Time for a Joe Stadolnik briefing.
This is Joe Stadolnik. I just took that from his Facebook profile. He has no tagged photographs of JUST HIM, so I chose his current profile picture. He is the boy in this picture. That is how you can recognize him. His favorite food is pie and his favorite animal is a duck, and those are my respective favorite food and animal, too. So that's generally how I describe him to the rest of the world. Furthermore, he has heard of most good bands in the universe (possibly ALL good bands in the universe, as I haven't managed to elude him with some little-known up-and-coming group yet, and I can usually do that with TFA people. More boring people than Joe). He eats meat. He is adventurous. He is my best friend in New Orleans, but he's no longer a Teefer. Which I think makes his appeal even vaster. And that's that in a nutshell.
We went to see "Burn After Reading" at the Prytania Theatre (yes, thatPrytania Theatre -- and the last single-screen cinema in Louisiana). The theatre had those old-timey commercials for concessions and gift certificates before the "Main Attraction," and that was kitschy enough to make the experience worth it. But I also thought the movie was hysterical, and EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED. I had forgotten how going to the movie theatre genuinely steals you away from reality from two hours, and it feels awesome. Good thing going to all the movie theatres in New Orleans is on my action plan! Way to think ahead, Johnson. 10 percent bonus.
And then we went to Karaline's to have dinner and talk about Sesame Street. There was more to this, of course, but I hate people who roster all the people they talk to at parties, so I'll skip it. Suffice it to say that it was VERY fun, and I got KIND OF drunk.
Tomorrow I'm going to church and I'm going to the museum and I'm going to lesson plan. I'm going to have another really great day.
At some point, I hope, I will look at my feet and find them firmly rooted on the ground, but I'm just not there yet. At least I am trying.
Here is the absolute truth, and you might not be ready for it: I have the greatest job in the world. I know that four out of five days next week I'm going to have to remind myself of that in really cheesy ways (maybe I'll have to write it on the inside of my palms, or spell it out in maple syrup on my stress-food-chocolate-chip-pancakes), but today the reality is crystal clear. There is absolutely nothing better than teaching Special Education at L. E. Rabouin Senior High School (by the way -- I WikipediaedRabouin the day I got hired, and I found nothing about him. I have no idea who that guy was. He was EXTREMELY white, from what I can tell from the brass sculpture of him in the hallway by the metal detectors. But why can't they name high schools after people who were actually important enough to have Wikipedia entries? Like Salim Muwakkil[my Chicago seminar leader and personal mentor] or my first band the Esplanades?).
I started building rapport with a few really hard-to-crack kids today, and it felt really, really good. Crayton, who is usually running around Environmental Science class like it's Discovery Zone (that would be cool, actually, but it's just not the reality), worked with me through the entire class and when I said "Thank you so much for your hard work," he said, "Yeah, Ms. Johnson, you aight. You a cool teacher." It was basically a whole day like that. And let me tell you the secret to this success.
I don't know what it is, but something about Starburst candy makes even GEE science equations seem fascinating. I had incredible management in all my classes. And the icing on the cake was this: A TON of Gen. Ed. kids not only know my name, but call me by it. Frequently. In a respectful tone. For a SpEd inclusion teacher at a school like Rabouin, that's like winning a gold medal.
Of course, I'll lose all this ground on Monday, and I'll probably feel really shitty again. But right now, it feels like the coolest thing I could possibly be doing to have it be my JOB to sit with tremendously funny, street-smart kids and help them graduate from high school.
Also, there was a cool lab in Biology today where Ms. Amundson had them extract DNA from pea soup, which was BADASS. DNA looks disgusting! If someone had told me a year ago that my job this year would involve extracting DNA, I would have laughed to the point of tears.
After I posted yesterday, I set out to reverse the downward plunge of the evening. Alexis, Marianne and I walked to the gelato shop on Magazine and bought (can you guess?) gelato. I was a gelato virgin, so that was a pretty exciting development. And when we got there, I decided it was time to get to know people outside TFA, so I introduced myself to the two gelato guys behind the counter, who are 22-year-old musicians who just moved from (wait for it) CHICAGO -- second greatest city in the UNIVERSE (Portland will always hold the number one spot in my heart). And I know where they work, so if they don't call, I'll just track them down.
We also so a cake that was made to look like a pot of LOBSTERS at Sucre, and that was obviously AWESOME.
Tonight I spent some time with some absolutely Refreshing (note the capital 'R') women from TFA. We had Vietnamese food and drove out to the Marigny. It's amazing how incredible it feels to get an honest-to-God friendship vibe with the people you're hanging out with. I have had trouble adjusting, but I think I actually found a group of people who I can really get behind. Get behind? That sounds sexual.
Now, tomorrow is Saturday. That means it has the most potential of all days for BIG FUN INCREASES. These are my tentatively planned fun-increasing activities:
Make four or five batches of vegan cupcakes and distribute with fervor to anyone and everyone who I admire, owe something, or have a big crush on. Tomorrow I'll leave you my recipe and maybe snap a few pictures... Do you like vanilla or chocolate versions of cupcakes better?
Plan BOARD GAME NIGHT (next Thursday. It's going down.)
Make dinner with the girls (I like that --"the girls." I'm going to go with that.) and go to the arthouse cinema on Prytania. They're showing "Burn After Reading," and I absolutely want to see that. We might go to the bar, too. Lesbian bar? I'm definitely interested.
Listen to the new MILEY CYRUS CD I bought. How cool am I? How much am I lost on 20-year-olds?
Clean the house. It's out of control. Too many working groups means that basically everything else goes to shit.
It's an ambitious weekend plan, but I'm not going to spend another Saturday in bed thinking, "maybe I'll do this, maybe I'll do that," and then end up actually vegging out and watching bad syndicated television with the "I deserve this, I work sooo hard excuse." The funness quota is way more important.
FUCK. TODAY. TODAY FUCKING SUCKED. NOTHING good happened today. I got HIT by a kid in a FIGHT. Actually, what better captures today is when a kid snapped at me, "I ain't gotta do what you say, you ain't no REAL teacher. You a retard." And then he spat a big, fat lougie on me.
And I checked my e-mail and the BEST thing I got was something from Alex that said that Jared the Subway guy is actually alive. I've been telling people he's dead for months now. Because I found it on some blog. And then I felt really, really dumb. So guess what?! THAT E-MAIL ALSO MADE ME FEEL SHITTY. FUCK. THIS. I give up on life. I can no longer pursue being fun. I am back to being miserable and UNFUN. Me. Under. Covers. Now.
It was almost a growth day. Almost. Satchmo is lying on my bed in that kind of pathetic "you-must-be-having-a-bad-day" kind of way, so I must be having a bad day. But I'm not, really. It was an average day. It was a Wednesday.
I got Avery to do PERFECT phonics today, for the absolute first time, and it was one of those awesome Oh-My-God-I'm-A-Teacher moments TFA loves to put in their soupy little spiral-bound manuals. But then Avery was like, "Where Alex is? He be my teacher? I want a MAN in my life!" This is like the sixth day he's said this. Alex was there for seriously 40 minutes of ONE DAY and he read Avery a Barenstein Bears book or something and had him do sight words. I mean, I know he's great and everything, but COME ON. Get over it already, Avery!
OH ALSO: The "scoissant" that was so good I had to keep going back for more was officially RUINED today when the owner of the coffee shop told me it was actually just a double-drop buttermilk biscuit with honey glaze. I bought one and took it back to school and the magic was gone. It tasted like a normal biscuit with a weirdly sweet exterior. Oh well, I guess that's good for my pocketbook (pocketbook? Who says "pocketbook" besides my vaguely British grandmother?)
I went to a SpEd workshop tonight and actually found it really enjoyable and that made me feel like I was probably less fun than I had otherwise thought. Because in no universe should anyone ever find mandatory TFA workshops enjoyable on Wednesday nights.
First lay-out night for The Pioneeris apparently tonight, too. This is the first time I've missed it since my freshman year. Even the year I was in Chicago I was there on the phone for the long haul. I'm pulling for them, but secretly hoping they get a 5 a.m. wake-up call from Maureen at the printing press about some malfunction. Because we used to get those Every. Single. Week. And it's time for someone else to bear the brunt of it.
Hey one time I read an article by someone who said that people who write words with periods after them for dramatic emphasis Like. This. were really annoying. Is that true?
For those of you keeping score, I am back up to 10 percent fun! And I'm also very tired. When you spend your entire whole wide life lying under the covers reading Virginia Woolf (and other brooding modernists), woe-is-meing about how glamorous and academic your life used to be, it's a shock to your whole system when you reemerge in the physical world.
Today I had drinks with Jayda and Antonio Garzia (who will always have to be either Antonio-Garzia-full-name or Mr. Garzia; he just isn't an Antonio). I did this right after school, which made the drinks cost $2. And that made the drinks abundant. And that made me drunk way too early in the evening. Alex called! But I don't remember what he said. It's been more than a week since I've heard his voice, and all I could think was, "MAN, his voice is loooow. ... ... Shorty got low-low-low-low-... Reeboks with the straps (with the STRAPS!)" and that did not make for a remotely productive conversation, so oh well about that. Bar conversation momentarily censored. Or forever censored, take your pick.
The real fun came when I 1) Visited Joe Stadolnik and received turnovers from him (I know how that sounds) and solved ALMOST ALL of the Crossword, and 2) When ALEXIS CAME INTO TOWN!!!!!!!!!!!! Alexis is a breath of FreshyMcFRESH air. I wish she would just sleep on cushions in my bed every single night and whisper the words to Harry Potter aloud while I went about my business. That might be dull for her, but it would be SUPER for me.
Tomorrow is gonna be AWESOME. Tonight at Nacho Mama's was even awesome! And now I'm having serious After Burrito Time (Alli and Alex call this ABT. And that's what it is. I submitted it as a definition on UrbanDictionary.com, but they insist that "ABT" stands for Asian-Born-Taiwanese. I mean really. When would you EVER need to use that?)
Worth noting: The Coffee Shop people down the street from my school know me by name and by food choice now. Does that make me cool or does it make me lame? More fun or more boring? Because on the one hand, WHO DOESN'T want to have a Coffee Shop that is essentially the daytime version of Cheers without the ugly '80s haircuts (or Frasier)? But on the other hand, does this mean I am falling into a rut of never trying new things? You know, the problem is that their buttermilk-scone-croissant lovechild thing is that best edible thing that there is. And that's not my problem, it's theirs. I still don't know what that thing is officially called. And nothing goes better with the scoissant than Dr. Pepper. So it's like they're preventing me from trying anything else. No points lost or gained here.
School is still hard, but today this one girl said, "Hey BITCH, move out my way!" and this normally quiet and reserved boy kind of quietly was like, "Her name isn't 'bitch.' It's Ms. Johnson." That was a good moment. I totally gave him a (clandestine) sticker.
I tried. I really, really tried. I woke up this morning with the overall goal of raising my funness percentage by one point. That's really all I could hope for for a Monday. Here were my tactics for increasing funness today:
Tell the following joke in one classroom setting: What the rock say to his wife? "You take me for granite!"
Accept all food offered to me.
Jump in without invitation in all co-teaching lecture settings.
Meet all direct insults with an upbeat and perky, "That's not hilarious!"
Never, even once, complain about my job even a little bit. In fact, say "I love my job!" no fewer than ten times.
That would have earned me one fun point, I figured, even though I had to be at work all day, and after work I had to sit for three hours in this Teachers' Practitioner Seminar. You know when you hit that mental wall? When you've just been working way too hard all day and you suddenly just can't get anything else into your brain? And you start misspelling simple words like "exercise" and "jump"? And you begin to crave really unhealthy foods, such as Hot Pockets? And you make little doodles of skinny indie girls and daydream about being one and maybe hanging out with Mary Kate Olsen, and you get really really sad that in that very moment you are missing the amazing experience of Blake Lively's wardrobe on Season 2 of "Gossip Girl"? Yeah, well, I hit that during this seminar. HARD. And that wall really brought me down a few notches. Although I did try to stick to all my rules. Some notes:
The joke did not go over well, because my students thought I meant The Rock (Dwayne Johnson), and not the rock (granite). Plus they didn't know that granite was a kind of rock. They just thought that was how you pronounce "granted." Which would make the joke sound like this: "What did The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) say to his wife? You take me for granted." That's just not a funny joke. Except that The Rock is gay I think.
I got some Cheetos and that was awesome.
I loved jumping in as a co-teacher. It was really fun to lecture again, and to walk around the class, and to feel in control. It was like a breath of fresh air after spending the first few weeks being a policeman who the students couldn't respect me in that position for the life of them. I actually really like teaching science. It reminds me of being in Mr. Penk's classes in high school, and how exciting Chemistry was before it was waaaay too complicated. I have a crush on scientists.
Some girls shouted at me while I was working with a student: "Hey you fuckin' ho, where you got that fuckin' dress you look like some Target-ass retail bitch!" I turned around and said, "That's not hilarious!" And they just kind of cracked up in that oh-my-god-this-woman-does-not-understand-anything way. Back to the drawing board. I'm getting really bored of these insults.
Avery hates learning vowel sounds. Which is disappointing because Avery likes literally everything else about school. Everything except reading. But he's going to turn 21, and I will be damned if he leaves Rabouin without knowing how to read.
I made up several songs. This process is generally met with blank stares. Then I usually say something like, "I just made that song UP!" And then someone will say something along the lines of, "Well, obviously."
I caved in the car on the way home from seminar and told Kristen that no one would want our jobs. Oops. So close.
Also, at one point I took the class mouse out of the cage during Seminar tonight. And do you know who thought that was awesome? NO ONE. People thought that was a realllllly dangerous thing to do. You know. Because that mouse wasn't MINE after all, and so much DISASTER could have erupted. HOW CAN I BE EXPECTED TO BE FUN IF ALL THE FORCES OF THE UNIVERSE (besides the mouse, obviously) ARE WORKING AGAINST ME?
Also, I did that thing I do where I took some thumbtacks off the board to move them onto ANOTHER board elsewhere. I have always done this, always. It's my version of being a kleptomaniac. And guess what?! I GOT IN TROUBLE! The leader of the seminar was like, "Um, those are not our thumbtacks. You can't take those." What. The. Fuck. Who even fucking CARES whether I take a thumbtack or not? NO ONE is going to miss that thumbtack. NO ONE. Not ANYONE.
So down 0.5 percentage points. I did have a really nice conversation with Lisa Curtis, but it wasn't quite enough to redeem the rest of the day. Oh well, tomorrow is an entirely new endeavor. Tomorrow my top aim is to go grocery shopping and cook enough food for the rest of the week. Cake, mostly.
Today was an ENORMOUS increase in fun. As you can see by reading the title of this entry, I have moved from 3 percent fun to 10 percent fun. That's a 7 percent net increase... IN ONE DAY! This is definitely the biggest increase yet, and probably the biggest increase that will ever happen at once. So soak it up.
Here is a breakdown of things that contributed to today's increase in fun:
My outfit was neon. I know this sounds like a small thing, but it was REALLY neon. It was "look at me, also I look kind of fat because that is how neon this outfit is" neon. And then I wore a SIDE PONYTAIL for BASICALLY most of the day. Then on Magazine Street a man with a scruffstachesaid to me, "You look like a McDonald's commercial from the '80s." And I said, "Awesome!" (0.5 points)
I learned about reading and met Krista Markert's husband. This is how Krista and her husband (Alex) met: at band camp. !!!. Who actually meets their husband at band camp? There were a lot more adorable aspects to this story, but mostly the part where they said, in unison, that they spent some nights together in "not Paris" right before they got back together. When you have been together for a long time, the "how-we-met" story becomes a choreographed dance. (1.2 points)
I had a margarita in the afternoon. (o.3 points) I saw more than 10 lizards. The winner of the Best Lizard of the Day Award goes to Lizard-Outside-Blockbuster-Video, who was the greenest lizard I've ever seen. He darted on top of a leaf when I saw him and gave me this look that was like, "HA! Now you can't see me! Because I'm green and this leaf is ALSO green. So go away." (0.5 points)
Nadim called me. This is a photo of Nadim. I am biting his shoulder. He obviously liked it.
Facts about Nadim: He is a comic book enthusiast (and so am I); He is a Lil Wayne enthusiast (and so is the city of New Orleans); He works for BarackObama (and so does BARACK OBAMA ). This was a funny conversation we had. If Nadim wasn't so hip (see left) and enthusiastic about all the right things, the conversation might have even decreased my funness percentage, because there was a lot of gossip involved. But then there was a sobby, laughy, emotion-fit thing that I thought was very fun. Plus it was kind of like breathing the air from Chicago. Which is obviously fun. I also talked on the phone to Ariana Rampy, and to my grandmother, and to... well I guess that was it. But anyway, I'm great at the phone. (1 point)
I went to the ALLIGATOR MUSEUM. I desperately need to tell you about the alligator museum. It is essentially just one very large room full of a large collection of alligator things that some man has collected in his lifetime. Its very existence -- in what looks like the perfect location for an antique shop on Magazine Street -- is offbeat and unexpected, but the contents of the museum are the truly incredible. Highlights:
The shelf of "Malformed" alligator heads. These are essentially mutant gators whose mothers must have consumed too much algae or something. They have bulgy eyes and slanted jaws and twisted teeth -- the works. This appealed both to my paranormal side and to my gator-loving side. Win-win.
The back room in general, which from what I could tell was an unfinished VooDoobacklot of the weirdest alligator stuff ever created. For example, there was a taxidermy duck with its head cut off and a gator head in its place. There was also a carousel horse which likewise had been beheaded and gatorified.
The case of random Florida gator souvenirs. My favorite was a tiny wooden box with a tiny plastic alligator inside with the words, This is the alligator I caught you in "Florida." Quotation marks around "Florida."
The movie memorabilia from the film "Alligator People," which looks like the greatest movie ever. It's about a man who has a failed medical procedure which turns him into an alligator mutant. From what I can tell it's just that one man, so I don't know why it's called "Alligator PEOPLE," but I'll Netflix it and let you know.
Huge-ass fake alligators that the admissions woman swore were real but were clearly not real.
I also made friends with the admissions woman, which gives me bonus points here. She really, really wanted to talk. I think this is because she has to spend her entire day in The Alligator Museum, where no one EVER goes in, even with the dirt-cheap $2 cost of admission. Girl's desperate for some company. (3.3 points)
I bought a Halloween costume base. But you're just going to have to wait and see... (0.2 points)
Tomorrow I teach. I'm actually terrified about this transition, since it's been a while and I'm worried any rapport I had with my kids has now utterly evaporated and I'll go back to being the "pregnant ho" I was during week one. Also I completely lost my Everything-I've-Done-All-Year-At-School file. I'm not surprised about this, but it certainly makes life more challenging. I got kind of excited today about creating a phonics program for the student I work with in a self-contained setting during 5th block, but I'm not sure I'll be able to implement it effectively. Oh well: Chin up, balls out, forward, forward, forward...
I just wanted to let you know, before I went to bed, that today I moved from being 1 percent fun to being 3 percent fun. This was a big leap. I think the main contributor to this was that I sat on Leah's porch with Other Sophie and Others and there was a pretty amazing picnic. You know... with beautiful vegan foods and spice muffins (which I guess counts as a beautiful vegan food) and smoking and wine. Also earlier today I caught a frog in the palm of my hands. It felt like Gak. Remember Gak?
Important People and Things In My Life: Installment One.
Note: These are basically just People and Things I directly dealt with today. Physically or on the phone. Please don't feel left out. I hate people who say things like, "Hey, I noticed I wasn't in your 'Important People and Things In My Life: Installment One.' Clearly you despise me."
This is my cat. His name is Satchmo and he is the most superior living thing on the planet earth. He is 100 percent fun. He picks out all the boring pieces of cat food from his cat food dish and refuses to eat them; he sits on the smoking roof and does not try to escape; he loves The Smiths and most jazz music and hates movies about vampires. He gets totally erotic for under-the-chin business. What a fucking flirt.
This is Ariana Rampy. She is 21 years old. The last time I saw her we had matching cheese blintzes with apples on top. I was not being vegan that day, so don't worry too much. OH SHIT! I totally left my leftover blintzes in my mom's fridge in Portland! Oh well. They would have been good the second day, but oh well. Anyway, Ariana is gutsy and brilliant and somehow attracts not only a lot of cute lesbians, but also the lesbian PART of all women. She is not a lesbian. She likes waffles and understands how parties are meant to be thrown and how apples are meant to be eaten and how desperately important gossip is. Her only flaw is that she is allergic to cats (see above). Luckily, she has gotten over her aversion to spicy food and sleeping in the same bed as someone else. This happened within the last year.
This is a spatula. I have a fairly large collection of spatulas. I have over 300. Whenever there is one of those get-to-know-you games where you have to share one interesting fact about yourself I always share the spatula thing. I am pretty sure I only collect spatulas so that I can have something somewhat interesting to say whenever I have to play one of those games. It is important to note that the collection IS LIMITED TO TURNERS and NOT silicone spatulas. Ben Malbin gave me almost all of my best spatulas. But that's for another day and time.
This is my sister, and this is one of the hottest, most indie-looking pictures I've ever seen taken of anyone in life. She is named Alexis. She is my favorite living human being. There is a man at the school I work at who is named Jake McDonald and he is high on the list, but no one can quite beat my sister. Facts and figures about Alexis: She has had 3 1/2 serious boyfriends; she has beaten at least one version of "Zelda," but I don't know which one; she has played the oboe and the violion; she is in figure skating club AND Dungeons and Dragons club; she has perfect skin; her favorite color is orange; she loves Weird Al Yankovic. And so do I. A lot. I am going to listen to some Weird Al Yankovic right now.
This is a shark named Edward. Alex bought this for me a long time ago and he is probably the second best present I've ever received from anyone (after this piano music box that Jessica Thompson gave me in the seventh grade). He's absolutely British. He really wants to get some pussy. I generally talk to him before I go to sleep. Tonight I'm going to RAP to him, in order to continually increase my funness.
That's all for now. I'm sure you're exhausted. So am I. Surely there will be more tomorrow...
It was time to create a new blog. It was probably time to create a new blog several months ago, when I first fell in love with teaching, or when I fell out of love with it, or when I was threatened with a pair of scissors. Maybe it was time to create a new blog when the green Volvo turned upside down with Alexis and me inside of it, but my computer got wet, so at the time it was quite impossible. Maybe it was time to create a new blog when we moved into the perfect yellow house off Magazine Street, or when I discovered the window onto the roof opened up and I started to smoke up there, all alone, in such a badass way that I desperately wanted to brag about it. Anyway, clearly, it was a long time ago that it was time to create a new blog. So this is all overdue.
I will warn you that right now I am sad.
That's a good warning to open a blog with, because you want to know what you're getting yourself into. I'm sad and I'm sorting myself out. I have seen every episode of "Gilmore Girls" more than ten times. That is a fact. It's an embarrassing fact; I am obviously opening up to you very early in our relationship. I am on the fast track to increasing that statistic to something like twenty times, which I am trying to avoid. So today is the day I am changing my life.
I used to be an entirely fun person. ENTIRELY. No part of me was not fun. I was much better-dressed back then, too. And thinner, because lately I've been exclusively eating dollar-frozen pizzas and individually wrapped snack fruit pies. This has all got to stop.
Here are the ten main things I plan to do in the next month to get back to a 78 percent fun ratio (100 percent would be ambitious, but not really feasible, and Teach for America has taught me that I have to make goals which are both ambitious AND feasible... aaaand two other things, but I can't remember what those things are... mmm... the goal has to be both quantitative and qualitative... well, never mind, let's move on):
Start a new blog. Mostly so I can be held accountable for getting funner.
This last one is especially terrifying, whereas I think the last time I ate meat of any kind was in England. It was fish sticks. I have just recently come clean about this. I also had some Italian Dry Salami one time at my grandpa's house. But I think it's time to eat alligator.
Here is a list of things I absolutely do not need to do in order to get to my 78 percent fun level. In fact, these things might actually HINDER my funness. IN FACT, these things will probably DEFINITELY hinder funness! These are not positive things:
Write excessively long e-mails to various ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, and other people who have social lives and therefore will probably not ever write me back.
Cry under the covers.
Establish the high score EVERY DAY on BuzzDash (Oh. I've been doing this. Every. Single. Day. And here's the nerdiest part about that: I do it by only selecting "Technology" as my topic. TECHNOLOGY!)
Buy presents for people on Amazon.com.
Facebook stalk excessively.
Watch re-runs of "The X-Files" and "How I Met Your Mother" on SurfTheChannel.
Take three-hour naps in the afternoon, resulting in dreams about owning a small bunny and a carnivorous goat simultaneously. Scarier than it sounds.
Smoke entire packs of cigarettes while saying "Woe is me" over and over again.
Pretend like I think it is fun to go to bars and attempt to get hit on by mediocre men because that might somehow make me feel more validated as a human being.
Do anything in which the primary activity is saying "Woe is me" over and over again.
There. That's mapped out. See how I'm changing my life RIGHT NOW?
I'd also like to buy a piano, a bicycle, and start BOARD GAME NIGHT. I just think life would be so much more enjoyable if there was only a Board Game Night involved. People in Teach for America like to say, "Hey, I don't have time for a weekly commitment like 'Board Game Night.'" And I say, "If you have time to go to the bar and talk about how hard it is to teach third grade, you have time to go to Board Game Night." And then they think I'm being a bitch. Most people here think I'm a bitch. Board Game Night might change that.
So let's see how it goes. Today I am 1 percent fun. Maybe tomorrow that percentage will DOUBLE. Or even TRIPLE! Imagine the possibilities...
here is the story of how my parents fell in love. my mom made my dad pancakes, and then she wanted him to marry her. he was like, "woman, don't tie me down." so she said, "if you don't marry me, i'm moving to japan." and then she did.
my dad was okay for about five minutes. then he went to japan after her and proposed. they got married on a boat going to russia, wearing the kinds of outfits people wear in the sixties. they didn't know any of their wedding guests!
then they hitchhiked across europe for their honeymoon.
at some point, they realized they were so cool that they ought to spawn.