Saturday, September 14, 2002

The Galapagos Islands have nothing on New York City as far as Darwinian evolution. They have kimodo dragons, we have drag queens. They have incredibly specialized species, we have fashion consultants. We have one major trump card: toilets at the bottom of stairwells.

Tonight I went out with my good bud Andy to a free artsy-fartsy thing with free vodka drinks. The event was at this huge converted warehouse with some brilliant design ideas which I'm going to integrate into my next major loft renovation. They had these multi-level track wall systems that were cheap, elegant, and light weight. I'm still amazed because I'm still buzzed. We had a few drinks and staggered off to the Cowgirls Hall of Fame for gravy. I've been a healthy, vegan'ish person for nearly a month, and I craved fat so much I would have gnawed on a hoof.

So we're at the Hall of Fame, which is almost as good as the Chinese food restaurant's take on Christmas. Chicken fried steak should not cost 16 bucks. While waiting for our table, we have another drink, which presents me with the NYC evolutionary question. All New York restaurants have their toilets in the basement, usually down an incredibly rickety, steep, narrow stairwell. Who could have designed this system, except for Darwin? The people who have full bladders are inevitably those who have had the most alcohol. So the inebriated individual is presented with the challenge of negotiating a life threatening, neck snapping passage of death in order to simply pee. Whenever I've had a few drinks, I always expect some nature show announcer to be at the bottom narrating that "this human male has run the dangerous urinal gamut of survival, thus ensuring adequate liver size in the future of the species. " It's a shame I'm not going to reproduce.

Friday, September 13, 2002

Mmmm, paychecks. I'm going to build a shrine to our payroll secretary, as I received my first real paycheck on time. It feels so good to have a steady income again, with the credit cards already dwindling to zero. Soon I'm going to have something I haven't had in forever: a savings account. Or a new laptop. Or a trip somewhere tropical for Christmas. Whatever.
The chalk dust has settled, the janitors have cleaned up all incredible amounts of garbage, the tiny windows have been shut, all the books have been closed, and I've locked the door for a three day weekend. With a two wine glass perspective, I think the end of the week was much better. I even had about fifteen minutes of my students all listening and participating, out of 225 minutes. This is an improvement.

No more barfing, no more major stress. I have such a great support system of friends, colleagues, and professors. I was whistling tunes tunelessly in class today while cleaning up, laughing at lunch, and made the students laugh a few times. I am so glad I didn't follow my first impulse of shrieking into the night. For the first few mornings of hell, I would walk past this sheet metal company. I would look into their shop, see all the men working the punch presses and formers, thinking that those jobs were probably the same salary and a lot less stress.

Now I'm off to dinner with Van, and if I'm still awake, a nightcap with Scott. Since I'm running on very little sleep, we'll see if I can make it past 9 pm. I must say that being a responsible adult has KILLED my social life. This weekend will be a very healthy dose of friends, coffee, and very little school. I'm also looking to be educated into the wonders of Yom Kippur, which sounds very tasty.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Two things, actually three.

1. Just like the first few days of 7th grade, it gets better. My amazingly good administration saw there was a problem and moved me to a new classroom. So many of my problems were from the incredibly small dimensions of my class. A special ed teacher with 8 students has been moved to my old classroom. My principal and assistant principal are really fantastic. It is still far from perfect, but the end of the tunnel is apparent in the distance.

2. Thanks to everyone who called or emailed their support during my freaky barfy stage. I think today is the perfect day to realize how important my friends are to me. Sometimes you just have to close your eyes, trust your friends' perceptions of yourself, and use their faith in you to keep you going. Does that make sense?

3. Back to my normal whingeing. I found my first gray hair, dammit! I was in a deep discussion about my lesson plans with one of the other teachers, and this strange white spot was on my arm. I look down, try to brush the annoying white lint off, and realize that it is ATTACHED. After that, all I could do was try to focus on the conversation, because all I wanted was to find some tweezers. I will not go gracefully into that good night.

Monday, September 09, 2002

My stomach feels exactly like it did every day for the first few weeks of seventh grade. My mother would try to force food into my system, I would get close to the school, I would picasso the streets with breakfast. I don't even recall the first day of seventh grade because I overdosed on antacids after barfing in the morning. One should not take an entire pack of Rolaids in the space of an hour, as it strangely affects hearing, balance, and thought processes. The only thing I recall from the first day of that day is a weird slow motion trek down a hallway as my ears transmitted the emergency broadcast signal.

I feel the same disorientation right now. Since it is the teaching of seventh graders that is producing this effect, I'm slightly amused. I've survived three days of teaching, and I'm absolutely, positively terrified that I'm not going to make it. The fear that I'm going to fail, that I'm not the right person for this job, that these kids will not learn the math keeps running through my head on some endless loop, making me wake up with knots in my stomach, adrenaline pumping in my system, feelings of absolute panic welling up.

I've received encouragement from others, but I can't seem to remember any of that when I'm alone. I've never been a particularly organized person, and I feel this constant pressure outside of class to complete things, but I'm at a loss as to where to start.

Will I make it through this? Part of me firmly believes I will, part of me isn't sure if I'll be happy as a teacher in this system. I'm going to set a deadline of two weeks for the barfing, one month for organization, see what happens.