Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Quest for Fire

It sounded like a beast, some monstrous supernatural thing, and it was breathing heavily in the bathroom. I laid in my bed at 6AM, eyes wide open, my mind scrambling. What the fuck is that? I asked myself repeatedly. And then it faded away.

I was bitching at the kindergartners again for being too wild and extrapolating on the many ways to avoid "chaos". "Chaos..." I saw one of my best students whisper, his eyes eyes widening with delight. "Chaos..." multiple students echoed in whisper voices, eyes glowing.

I was waking up. The second before my eyes actually peeled themselves open, I heard an animal-like shriek, an otherworldly hiss. Hmmm, Chantix...I thought to myself and got out of bed.

I stood bleary eyed in a room of nearly four hundred children at ten minutes to eight, awaiting the start of our daily morning meeting. Through the sea of kids I noticed a fellow teacher presiding over her group, clad in a fluffy purple bathrobe.

I went to my classroom and stayed there.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Modern South

As I looped around the west end of the park on my slow, late afternoon jog, something strange popped into my vision. A man, jogging even slower than me, with a long white beard and glasses...waving a giant, Confederate flag.

I thought I had to go outside of the city to see stuff like that. Stuff like stickers that say: Don't blame me, I voted for Jefferson Davis. Figurines carefully placed on shelves of black people eating watermelon. That racist flag.

Oh, that's right. I am forgetting my Southern history indoctrination. The Civil War was not about racism or slavery, but about states' rights. States' rights to do what? Oh yeah. States' rights to own slaves.

I suddenly felt extremely uncomfortable with the African American couple that had been jogging behind me. What do I do? Apologize for idiot Caucasians? Better yet, rally them to help me physically attack this man?

"That flag!" I heard the man behind me gasp to his partner.

Doing nothing seems weak. It's allowing this white fool to creep in from the Confederacy outside of the city lines to deliberately offend people. Confronting him makes you look like a freak.

I did nothing.

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Saints

I'm not new anymore. My closet doesn't seem endless and my new home doesn't seem as fancy, it just really needs cleaning.

I remember my first day of high school teaching. I was paralyzed and the hair stood up on my arms when dozens of school buses pulled up and hundreds of students started pouring out. I got used to it. I have gotten more accustomed to my new school as well. I sit in the too small chairs at the too small tables and cram my hands into blunt nosed kids' scissors and it doesn't even seem weird anymore. I tell people to turn their voices off.

I've had a hard time keeping my Mexico with me. I was determined to not let work rule my life when I returned and have let both the responsibilities and my ample problems with my new job dominate my existence.

There's panda watch at the zoo. In adult terms, that means that they think one of them might be pregnant. When I lie in bed at night I imagine all of the animals going to sleep just up the street.

I have a lot of complaints, JUSTIFIED ONES, about my new job, but the students are actually not one of them. Not Harry at least. If fire could be personified, it lives on the face of this first grader. He's bad. He's walking ADHD. He screams. I have no idea why I like him so much. And the weird group of kindergartners that always answer "enojado" when I ask them how they're doing. And Leo, the little old man in a six year old's body that gives me Star Wars tattoos. When he tells me that other kids wronged him, I don't even try to "problem solve" with the offenders anymore. I crack my knuckles, look at Leo and tell him I'll take care of them. He likes that.

The kids looked pretty cute. From what I imagine was an effort to not offend anti-Halloweeners and to pretend there was something academic going on, the students dressed up as characters from different books and paraded through the school. Pigs and butterflies and Grecian goddesses went by, their faces wearing the wild pride of being a person in a parade.

It was an odd time to start crying. Inexplicably, Tijuana flashed through my mind. The pot bust, the creepy revenge message about bringing a little Juarez to the town, the slayings, the headless corpses again hanging from the overpasses. I went back to my classroom and got my shit together, then returned to the joy parading through the brightly colored hallways.

"¿Cómo estás?" I asked various, bleary eyed kids with stained fake blood skin and remnants of dark zombie makeup around their eyes. "¿Qué onda, wey?" I prodded one of my few Latino students.

"I'm bien because I love you" Laurie answered.