Thanks to the end of the first quarter and the Jews, there are a lot of teacher planning days in October. We even had one last random one thrown in last Thursday, for Yom Kippur. I still don’t know if it’s pronounced “yaahm kipper” or “yoohm keep-uhr.” Rachael may kill me, but right now I don’t care. I also haven’t seen her in six months, so that’s less of an issue.
I received a much-needed blast from the past on our second to last teacher planning day. Immediately after turning in 14 pages of bubble sheets, I hustled down to the MIA to pick up one Amanda Eve. We swung by Central to check up on the girls’ soccer car wash, which was mildly successful. It was interesting walking around my new high school with one of my closest friends *from* high school, not to mention a bit surreal.
We proceeded directly home by way of Pollo Tropical, the paragon of Miami fast food, and then fell immediately asleep on a rainy Friday afternoon. The weekend consisted mainly of sleeping, eating, shopping, and movies, with a bit of a late-late-late night on South Beach with ‘Los and other TFA-ers thrown in there somewhere. Then, in a blaze of Columbus Day glory, the sun came out of its rainy garb for an entire day. All of Sunday was divine: brunch at the now traditional Icebox Cafe, a stroll through the Lincoln Road antique sales resulting in hot-hot-spicy-hot new barstools (in grape, goldenrod, magenta, and pumpkin), a lovely dip in the atlantic ocean, and a stellar finish with Mary back in town: grilled snapper, french green beans and white russians for dessert.
Although it was sad taking Mandi back to the runways, I really felt like we had meaningful time to spend together, something that even Dave and I have been short on recently. Being around old friends feels like home, and it makes this temporary home feel more comfortable. Sharing your present life with people from your past reconnects with them, but also reaffirms the contrasts in your respective existences. It was, on the whole, a lovely visit. And I have new barstools. Did I mention that?
The next week was a bit of a washout: Tuesday and Wednesday class, planning day on Thursday which turned into a “bitch-at-the-Zone-liason” session for three hours. If I remember correctly, I was also mildly hungover from a long Wednesday of soccer followed by Alias and Pinot Noir. I have addicted my housemates (with great ease, I might add) to my favorite vice: the fictional world of Sydney Bristow. We’ve burned our way throught the first three seasons (they watched ALL of season one in one weekend when I wasn’t there), and are about to get a much anticipated season four as soon as it’s released on DVD in two weeks. I’m not sure what it is about the show that draws people in so intensely; perhaps it’s at once the antithesis and explanation to my current living situation. How is this possible, you ask?
Well, in the first place, I am not a secret agent for the CIA. No seriously, I’m not. I mean, even if I am (which I’m not), that guy in the program told me not to *mention* that. Secondarily, I am not dating Michael Vartan; while that might be fun, I’m pretty pleased with the long-distance relationship that I’ve got going on, and have no wish to extend that distance to L.A. Lastly, my family, however weird, is nowhere nearly as f-ed up as Sydney’s.
The tenuous but mildly interesting parallels which I can draw between Ms. Bristow’s life and Ms. Williamson’s are as follows: 1. in my daily life, I wear a lot more suits and oxford dress shirts than I have ever worn in my life (since I left McDonogh), and my other fashion choices are about as dissimilar to work clothing as Syd’s disguises are from her office apparel. 2. Teaching involves about ten times more duplicity than I would have imagined. I have had intense training in compartmentalizing emotions, putting on facades, and acting meaner, angrier, and let’s face it, less angry than I really am. There are very few students who actually know my personality at all. I guess that’s one of the drawbacks of being a teacher in this environment; there are few times when you really get to be “yourself.”
It used to be that soccer was the place where I could relax, unwind, and let my guard down. Last week, it was rough. The prima donnas who never come to practice decided to show up and give me attitude, an abnormally high percentage of flaky kids refused to follow directions, and our usually competent core of returning players either didn’t show up or didn’t speak up to get the other girls to retrieve their heads from their asses. By Friday afternoon, I was ready to quit. I even told Gemma I was going to.
Then, after a wonderful weekend which included one indie rock concert, 6 episodes of Alias, two slices of bacon, one movie, and one trip to Aventura, I returned to practice today rejuvenated. Took the kids on a run, impressed them with my now-competent Coerver skills, and slammed a couple of half-volleys into the net. It’s pretty ironic that a lot of my technical skills, which were so lacking in college when I was so uptight and nervous about playing, have actually improved in the past two years. It’s kind of refreshing. I guess I’m not all washed up after all.
Well, it’s getting later than I had anticipated, and chatting with Mr. Henry this evening pushed my bedtime back even further. I suppose profound comments regarding backyard musical productions and bright barstools will have to wait for a later time.
BTW, I also figured out where I’ve blown all my “free” time lately, instead of wasting it here on the blog: Netflix. Sweet, sweet Netflix. Oh well; there could be much worse addictions.