Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Day in the Life of a Substitute

I had no idea what was in store for me when I decided to get out of bed this morning and go to work. I hadn't considered the ramifications of ignoring my fever and sore throat, and forcing myself to teach my old classes again. Little did I know that how much my students could still make me blush.

1st period/8:05am: We had been reading Their Eyes Were Watching God in this Junior class, and since I read it in high school (and subbed in this class last week), I felt comfortable discussing this novel with students. One of the review questions the teacher asked regarded a comment Janie (the main character) made to her husband in front of everyone at their general store. This question led to what the southern dialect meant, which led to talking about.........impotence, erections, "shrinkage," and "sagging bottoms". If it weren't for my already flush (and sweaty) face due to my fever, I probably would have had heat-sweats in the middle of class. I never thought I would ever use the word "erection" and "penis" in the middle of an English class.

6th period/1:18pm: The sophomore class had just finished reading the Greek classic, Antigone, in class and now it was time for them to create their own small, one-scene play dealing with the theme of justice or injustice. As I was walking around the classroom observing what the groups were putting together, I was able to eavesdrop on some of the ideas they had. One group decided to deal with the controversy of gay marriage. Not my favorite subject, but who am I to judge their creativity? Inevitably, one male student asked my thoughts on gay marriage. It was at that moment that I knew I was in trouble. Never ask teachers' opinion on controversial subjects -- you'll get them in trouble for sure. Well, since I am a substitute, and I know these students pretty well, I decided to let them know my opinion -- and very professionally, I might add. I told them that I disagree with gay marriage, and tried moving on as quickly as possible. They wouldn't let me. They picked apart my reasoning until I shared as much as I dared without inviting a heated debate. It was at that moment that the boy who first asked for my opinion shared that he was gay. I was doubtful until he shared about his boyfriend and how they wanted to eventually have children of their own. I was desperate to get away. I felt trapped that I might say something to put him down or make him feel embarrassed. I excused myself again and told them to work within the context of their made-up scene and I would check on them later.

Monday, May 24, 2010


I came upon euphoria

in the center of a wood.

Yellow leaves, brown trees

and green, green, green.

I lean upon the abstract

for beauty of the word.

Who needs an image to extract

When form is just as sure?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thought of the day

Ever wonder why the reason I am almost OCD about having all my things in order is because I want to be at peace with my life before I take it? The way I see it, it can happen any time.

*Disclaimer: I am not suicidal. But it does make one wonder such things....

Friday, May 21, 2010

The hand, hanging loosely at her side, slowly cramped into a fist; by the time the boy's next belt of laughter escaped his lips she was welding a weapon of bone, muscle, and skin. The diamonds in the ostentatious ring encircling her ring finger on her left hand caught the fading light momentarily before burying themselves in the boy's right cheek. His head whipped back as he stumbled several feet. A look of utter bewilderment poured from his now-moist eyes; searching for reason for the assault.

The black fire spewing from her own eyes was enough to silence any words riding on the tip of his tongue. He winced as she yanked off the three-carat ring and threw it at his chest. The laughter that was so prevalent moments ago was replaced with deafening silence.

"How dare you!" she seethed. "How could you make a mockery of me behind my back?"

"Mockery? It was all in good fun, babe," he stammered over his words.

"Parading my most intimately embarrassing moment in front of your pals is not fun." Here eyes brimmed over with tears. "I was your
fiancee. Does that mean nothing to you?"

"Yes, and as my fiancee I thought you'd be fine with a little joking around with Brian and Dave."

"What in your wildest dreams made you believe that? I told you those things in secret -- not everything is public knowledge -- and this is how you treat me?" Her hands came up stiffly to the sides of her face briefly before throwing them wide again. "I can not even fathom what possessed you, Kyle. It's this kind of immaturity -- this kind of childishness that my family warned me about. I can see they were right."

"Babe, it's not that bad. We can work things out. I can talk to them again. They won't talk to anyone," he tried soothing her, taking a step closer.

She brought a hand up to stop him. "No, Kyle. Don't even bother. I can't even look at you right now." She turned around in frustrated circle. "Just leave me alone!"

to be continued...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Dreamed Jumanji

If you're old like me, you'll understand the reference. Jumanji was epic in its day. I was ten years old when it first came out, and it has completely changed the way I view fiction.

I've been having some very strange and varied dreams this past week. I certainly haven't been bored when I close my eyes. A couple nights ago I had a dream that can only be described as a page out of the Jumanji book. There were elephants, strange "village people" who were after me, children that needed rescuing, and wild horses. By the end of the dream, I was being chased wildly by the post-apocalyptic village people while trying to keep these orphan children safe. I was running and jumping through dilapidated buildings, dodging elephants, and hiding children in a giant barn. By the time I ran out of the barn with four horses after me, I had a leather whip in hand and stood ready to attack anyone who dared threaten me.

My heart was racing so much that when my phone went off at 6:30am I jumped to answer it. My voice didn't even sound groggy. I accepted a sub job without even understanding what school it was for, hung up the phone and snoozed for twenty more minutes.

Sadly, I could not see to the complete safety of those orphans. I will never know what happened to them, or if they're still trapped in the game.

Friday, May 7, 2010


This is a story about a young woman and how her temperament was stretched thin and liable to snap. But it didn't. Instead, this woman sought the solace of a blended Mudslide and the company of friends.

We'll get to the drink (yup, it's the forth one of the year -- and only three days after the third) in a moment, but first let's examine the events leading up to this momentous occasion.

A friend from the UK had stayed with me all week, and Friday morning (4:30am to be exact) I was obliged to take him to the Portland Airport to catch his 7:40 flight. He had mentioned on more than one occasion that I didn't dress "feminine enough," and if I wanted people to notice me as a lady instead of "one of the boys" then I should dress up more often. Now I am disinclined to agree with that estimation, but to prove that I indeed knew how to dress like a lady, I told him that I would dress up when I took him to the airport. Ordinarily at 3:30 in the morning the best you could hope for out of me is my old sweatpants and a sweatshirt. My hair wouldn't be combed, I wouldn't wear makeup, and I wouldn't wear contacts. But no, I pulled out the big guns and turned out in a lovely gray day dress, wedge shoes, makeup, straightened hair, and contacts.

And I felt like a chump one hour later.

We left my place at 4:27am (which is odd because I'm never early for anything) and were off to Portland in the hopes of avoiding traffic in the middle of the night/morning. I noticed my lights were a little dim, but thought it was because I'm never driving so early in the morning and I'm just not used to it. We made it to West Linn around 5:30ish heading up the hill to the Lake Oswego exit when I noticed the cruise control not working. I press on the gas again, but this time it only increases a little, then not at all. I curse in my head, but manage to maneuver to the side of the road. We pop the hood just in time to see everything shut down. Not even my hazard lights would blink on.

So there I am, all dressed up and looking like a prissy helpless woman staring dubiously under the hood of my car. I didn't have a clue what to look for. I knew how to check the fluids, and I had a sneaking suspicion that that wasn't the issue.

And then a cop shows up.......I'm curled up in the front seat of my car by then, trying to get ahold of AAA and convince them that I need legit assistance on the side of the road. BUT because I was not the card-holder, I was somehow undeserving of their help. To add insult to injury, he turned his salesman speech on and tried to get me to buy AAA insurance for $100. No moron, I am no interested in spending $100 on a plan when I'm only keeping my car for a couple more months. I need roadside assistance NOW. After his schpeal, I finally convinced him to connect me to the closest tow company and I'll get help myself. Meanwhile, the cop is trying to ascertain the situation and my friend is trying to convince him that it's the alternator that's given out (all in his thick Scottish brogue). The cop sets up some flares for us since the sun was just starting to wake up.

My friend says he needs to call a cab in order to make it to the airport in time (I didn't schedule in break-down-on-the-side-of-the-road time), but the cop informs him that no cab will pick up a guy on the side of the road because it's too dangerous.

Our solution: the cop (who I still don't know his name) would give us a ride to the MacDonald's, call the cab to pick up my friend there, and call the tow company to meet me there as well.

We grab our things and walk back to his car. The lights are spinning, the flares are flaring, and I'm climbing into the backseat of a cop car dressed like an evening escort on the side of the highway.

My first thought was that I have got to get a picture in the back of a squad car. Then I shamefully chastised myself for thinking that at such an inappropriate time. This was no time for me to further this ridiculous stereotype I was obviously cast in as being a prissy girly-girl. And now I don't have a picture to document the epic moment that it was.

The cab and tow company actually came pretty quickly to meet us at MacDonalds. I said goodbye in the parking lot to my friend (and found out his cab fare would be about $60. My tow alone cost me $65). The tow guy didn't even help me into the monstrosity he calls a tow truck, so in a dress and 4-inch heels I manage to gracefully climb into the cab. We drive the mile to my car in complete silence. He hooks up my car, and then we proceed to sit there for another 15 minutes as he tries to decide where to take my car. The man is clearly an idiot. Really, I mean a complete neadrathal. He says he doesn't know any of the shops in town, but the couple that he does know aren't open yet, so I'd have to sit in the parking lot for an hour before they open. At this point I don't even care. He calls a couple places up, continues to spit chewing tobacco into a Rock Star can, and stares out the window as traffic picks up. He says he'd haul it back to Canby for me since that's where he's from and he knows more people down there. Then I come to find out it would cost me $2.50 a mile for him to tow me anywhere; I tell him to just take me to the closest Les Schwab (which he claims will fix anything). He's a liar.

He takes me to Les Schwab, which is a block away from the MacDonalds we came from, unloads my car, then proceeds to sit in his cozy cab and talk to me while filling out the paperwork and payment for my tow as I stand in the freezing cold and rain in a dress. You are an idiot, I keep saying to him in my head. He drives me the block down to MacDonalds and I head to the Sheri's next door instead; ready to have a good cry at any moment. I'm not hungry. In fact I feel nauseous. But I need a moment to collect my thoughts and mull over what to do after a surprising charge of $65. I order hash browns and call Les Schwab and ask them if they can help me with my alternator. Les Schwab doesn't do alternators. I spent $65 to get my car hauled by an idiot to a place that can't even fix my damn car. At this point I call my dad to have that cry I needed.

I hiked back up the hill to the Schwab after breakfast (that I couldn't even finish), ended up having them change my battery so I can drive the two blocks to the auto shop that can do something about my alternator. The shop owner, Russ, outlined everything that would need to take place in order to fix my alternator, gave me a price and let me go outside to have another good cry on the phone with my dad. "Bite the bullet," my dad said. So with that proverbial bullet between my teeth, I paid the $373 and got the new alternator put in. Now I just need to figure out how I'm going to sell this piece of equipment in which I have replaced everything except the actual engine. It had better be worth all the money I've already invested....

I drove home two hours later, feeling completely exhausted and defeated, closed all the blinds in my room, and curled under the covers in sweatpants and a t-shirt -- the clothes I should have been wearing when driving to the airport in the first place.

And now the time of truth: to drink or not to drink? After all, it had only been three days since my last.....beverage.
My friend had her 23rd birthday that night at a local bar, and since I slept the majority of the day away, I was collected enough to attend. Chase Bar & Grill was where I had my first blended Mudslide -- and it was the best I've ever had. This, in and of itself, was enough to tempt me toward another drinking session.

In honor of my friend's birthday, and in order to ease my wearied soul, I salved my wounds with the smooth chocolaty taste of Mudslide-y goodness.

You're fat and you don't have money

God has a funny way of telling me things. Really -- it's not 'strange'-funny, it's 'haha'-funny.

Earlier this week on Monday I met up with an old friend for lunch at a local Japanese establishment. We walked down a few blocks, stopped off at the bank so I could grab some money, and walked across the street to the restaurant. It was delicious as always (teriyaki chicken with yakisoba noodles). After lunch we walked back to campus because I had convinced him the perfect Mother's Day gift would be to take his mother and grandmother to the Spring Dance Concert hosted by the dance department at WOU, and we needed to buy tickets before they sold out. Afterwards, I ran several more errands around campus and was just about to head home when I realized....

I no longer had my house key.

That's right, somewhere along this arduous journey through Monmouth and across campus I had dropped my key somewhere. (See, there was a point to detailing my entire itinerary.) Since I didn't have any pressing matters to attend to later that afternoon/evening, I wasn't too worried, but this did mean that I would have to wait until my roommate came home. Sometimes that wasn't until 11 or midnight.

I called my lovely roommate and found out that she wouldn't be home until 7:30 at the earliest, so I decided to retrace my steps and see if it fell out of my back pocket along the way. My first stop: the bank.

Me: Hiiii, I may or may not have left my key here.
Teller: Is it a single key on a black key chain?
Me: Yes! You have it??
Teller: Yes, I figured it was a house key.
Me: Thank you so much!

And thus, my key was no longer lost. It was found.
To celebrate, I was going to stop by the ice-cream shop to celebrate me being able to get back into my apartment. (Understand that I had recently shelled out $530 for car repairs.) I slide past Subway quickly and reach for the door handle of The Scoop, only to be met with staunch resistance and a darkened shop. I check my watch to make sure that I wasn't trying to get in when they were still closed. 3:30pm on a Monday. Store hours: 12pm-9:30pm Monday-Friday.

I was being locked out, and for no apparent reason at all. Not even a dandy CLOSED sign in the window.

Now God, I know ice-cream is not good for me since I am trying to lose weight. And I really shouldn't be spending $2.50 for ice-cream when I don't really have the money. You sure have a way of beating Your point into me. Point realized, Sir.

Just so you know, I drove by The Scoop later that evening and they were open. And I didn't have any money.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Yawn Interrupted.

It really irritates me when I can't get out a perfect yawn on account of being interrupted by someone or something.

Picture this: I gear up for a fantastic yawn by slowly taking a deep breath, then open my mouth until I nearly get lock-jaw while simultaneously popping my ears. This is just the set up I need to let out a truly wondrous yawn.

But then a car honks while passing me on Main Street, distracting me for a moment, and completely ruining a perfectly good yawn. I am left irritatingly unsatisfied, the car wasn't even honking at me, and now I have half a yawn still trapped inside me. Yawns are important in the way that I feel I am releasing some sleepy energy (yes I'm aware of the contradiction in terms). When I yawn during the day, I expect to get rid of some of my sleepiness -- not stop halfway and expect to feel relieved.

This was my yawn interrupted. And I was not pleased.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Becoming Jane

Wesley is a good name.

Tom is also just as swell.

I have just finished watching the movie Becoming Jane, the story of Jane Austen's life before she became known as the authoress of the most amazing novels in English history. I love this story because I consider myself a writer (although nowhere near the scope of Austen's work). When I was finishing up my undergraduate degree, I took a class on Jane Austen and her work, consequently doing my final research paper on the strong connections between her life and her work. Watching the movie shows just how close her life was to Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility.

The two different men in her life were both quite noteworthy, but they were never enough for Jane -- either romantically or holistically as a provider. Jane was not wrong in choosing either suitor, nor was she right in choosing a life of independence as an authoress. As time goes by, I'm noticing the same thing in my countenance as I decide whether to marry and settle down with a stable lifestyle or find contentment in single life. Jane was left with a choice where neither path would have been more advantageous than the other. If she chose life with Tom then everything would have worked out exactly the way she projected: Tom's family would be put in more financial straits until everyone (including Tom and Jane) were so miserable that the family would ultimately split up on account of blame, guilt, and no money. On the other hand, if she followed her moral compass and refused the man she loved, the man she had no feelings for whatsoever, and the dear friend who betrayed her, then she would be left with the option of no marriage at all. That is the life she chose. Consequently, she was forced to live vicariously through her fanciful characters where weddings were in abundance and the ill-repute got what they deserved.

What a perfect world Austen created. That seems like the most advantageous choice given me at present. I am inclined to follow in her footsteps and join the ranks of old-maidenhood as I leave my mark as an accomplished author. Even if it does come about posthumously.