There are certain periods of time during my day-to-day life when I am not capable of doing anything whatsoever. For instance, the first half hour after I wake up is a complete black hole of inactivity. So is any time I find myself waiting for someone. I’ve encountered people in the past who are productive waiters, who read or run errands or do things I can’t begin to fathom on their Ipads. I, on the other hand, just sit there and stare blankly at the spot where the person is eventually supposed to appear. And when the person does finally show up, I’ll turn my head so it doesn’t look like I was sitting there waiting like a loser.
“Oh, you’re here. That’s cool. I didn’t notice right away ‘cause I was, you know, thinking about stuff.”
I’m also mostly useless during my 50 minute planning/prep time at school. That’s not to say I don’t plan. I do. It’s just that I can’t do it in the designated planning time the school has put into my schedule. In the past, I would kid myself and try to be productive. Now I’ve accepted the reality, which is that no work will occur during prep time. No, I’m going to blow it surfing the Internet instead, although I do at least spread books all over the table to create the illusion that I’m spending my time wisely. If another teacher walks into the room, I’ll flip through pages with a scowl on my face so it looks like I’m deeply immersed in the curriculum.
Last Thursday, I had ten minutes before the start of my classes and I was dead set on wasting it. Sometimes when I feel like amusing myself, I’ll go on YouTube and type odd things into the search bar like “monkey attack” or “falling down stairs.” Usually this yields pure gold, and Thursday was no exception; I was able to find an outstanding clip from The Amazing Race of a woman getting hit in the face with a watermelon. It really put a smile on my face. I watched the watermelon-to-the-face clip three times and enjoyed it so much I decided I had to go on Facebook and share it. I always like to share fun things on Facebook, because it’s important for me to bring joy to the 100 or so people I actually know and the 300 others I vaguely remember from high school or college.
But shortly after I posted it, I saw something that changed my mood entirely. A few months ago, my non-exclusive-pseudo-relationship-from-hell ended when the girl I was spending time with decided that sleeping with one of my (now former) friends was more important to her than keeping things going with me. The truth is that I really dug this girl, and although I believe I’ve gotten over her, I don’t know that I’ve gotten over the crappy experience. The whole thing was a bit embarrassing and sent my confidence packing (and that fucker doesn’t pack lightly – he took my pride, my self-esteem, and apparently my ability to enjoy Facebook with him). Having a person I cared about choose someone else over me was a tough pill to swallow. I guess I should simply accept things for what they were. I was liked but I wasn’t loved; I was tagged but I wasn’t it.
Anyhow, thanks to Facebook’s newish feature in the upper right hand corner – which I like to lovingly call “the stalker box” – I got the pleasure of reading a conversation between the dude and one of our mutual friends. They were discussing the connections between Alice in Wonderland and Persephone’s voyage through the underworld. Really, they were discussing whether or not Persephone was a “sacred pilgrim,” and he said he didn’t think so, but he had to brush up on his Eleusinian myths. I read it and sighed. It was like that moment when you take your clothes out of the washer only to realize there were some Kleenex in your jeans pocket and everything is covered in torn bits of white tissue.
I felt defeated.
Of course the girl would want this guy. Here he was, talking about Eleusinian myths, while I was watching watermelon-to-the-face for the fifth time. I didn’t have a clue as to who Persephone was…maybe she was a member of En Vogue or something. Sacred pilgrims? I kept picturing Jesus on the Mayflower or eating corn with Indians. How could I compete with this? The world is full of men who are younger, better looking, smarter, and who don’t spend their time YouTubing clips of people getting fruit projected at their faces.
Right then, as I was thinking this, the PC Room teacher walked in. I quickly minimized Facebook and turned my eyes towards whatever random page the curriculum was open to. The PC Room teacher is gorgeous but doesn’t speak any English; we rarely, if ever, interact. Using her broken English, she told me one of the students would be absent today. While she talked, she blushed. She apologized for her bad English and I apologized for not knowing any Korean. We both kind of giggled and she left.
“What if she and I are completely in tune with each other,” I thought, “and we would get along famously, but we’ll never know that because we can’t speak the same language?” I found that thought intriguing and stopped to think about it. Then I decided it was a really rosy view on things; maybe PC Room teacher and I would hate each other if we could communicate. I liked that she came in and tried to talk to me, though, and hoped more students would be absent in the future.
The bell rang because it was 2:50 and class time. The kids came pouring in and I felt happy. Class began, and we followed a lesson plan that I had made at some point in time when I wasn’t supposed to be planning.