At semi-regular intervals, she spoke to save her life, or something like it.
Saturday, May 04, 2002
Yesterday I met one of my past students at the Museum in town. I haven't been there in years, even though it's right down the street, and I've always felt guilty that I don't go there more often. Everybody's been raving about the new cafe there and it is pretty-- overlooking the water. And there's a courtyard with a fountain where you can catch the breeze off the ocean. The kind of public space that should be occupied, but wasn't save two tourists taking photos. The cafe was beautiful, too-- of hard wood with large picture windows overlooking the ocean. Everyone there seemed to be a retiree lunching. It must have been the hour.
Now I know why I don't go there much-- they had ceramics from the permanent collection, 18th century pewter serving wear, and spumoni-colored landscape paintings of Topanga Canyon. Not really my thing.
But Nora and I got all caffinated and had this absorbing talk about everything from computers to babies to selling scavanged stuff online. She actually sells books online and has been doing really well at it. It's cool to be around some one else who is also trying to bail on the fossil fuel monoculture, cause it's hard, especially in Southern California! It's like learning to live all over again, deprogramming consumer messages, claiming your time as your own again. I'm trying to remind myself that the price tag on something isn't just money-- there's a larger price paid somewhere else for the sweatshop labor, the environmental destruction, etc. Not to mention that that money is also time, time that could be spent on other things. I try to ask myself how I've been able to live this long without it, if the thing is so great? And I try to remind myself that there's stuff out there used, already made, that I can get from a thrift store and that will do.
Actually, I'd seen Nora and Doreen riding their bikes down my street earlier in the day. They'd been going to a yard sale to forage for books. They use their bikes for neighborhood trips. I'm trying to get M to get one so we can do the same. I have this crazy old sparkly green girly schwinn that it just sooo cool. But the breaks sqeek so loudly-- they scare small children. Must find someone who knows how to fix the thing.
It's a great feeling to have people come into your life who inspire you and teach you how to live in a more productive way.
Had nightmares last night-- something about me teaching a group of people out in a suburban park like the one I used to play in in Illinois where I grew up. (That park is now a corporate parking structure.) I think I was teaching them "hands on" murder mystery writing. But the thing is, I this had this old cadillac and its trunk was full of two corpses dredged from a lake, decomposing. To kind of bring the lesson home I openned the trunk and the smell of the unrecognizable corpses was just awful. (Did I mention I'd been grading their equally unrecognizable annotated bibliographies earlier that day?)
And then, that dream wasn't so disturbing that I didn't think I could divert myself and get back to sleep. But as I was half in sleep I had an auditory hallucination not unlike the auditory hallucinations I had when they gave me too much corticosteriods in the hospital ten years ago. I mean, if anyone has felt this (and don't tell me, "yeah, when I was tripping this time on acid..." it's NOT the same) it's totally bizarre, because it's a voice that's definitely outside of you, but somehow is intimate with you. However, it's full of ill will as well. So last night this voice, a high pitched man's voice, unctuous with knowing and hatred, said my name, called me. This was disturbing enough to transform the entire bedroom into some alien place. I thought of the rapist from the neigboring wealthy neighborhood and how he's been crawling in windows at night. I wasn't afraid he's crawl into our place, just that that might be happening somewhere as I lay there, and the evil was palpable.
Poor M, I woke him up just to dispell the vibe, even though it was 3 am, and I knew he had to get up at six to go to work (To deal with more crazies and depressed persons in the locked ward). He told me in half-sleep to go visit the cat. That did help, actually. As I watched Lemmy drink water from the faucet I began to relax a bit.
It didn't occur to me until this morning that this dream might have been about teaching. After I got home last night I felt particularly depressed. Half of my students in both classes didn't show up because a draft was due. And then a few students who did show up were whiny. This is not College-- this is some kind of play skool for adults. I've failed to teach or motivate the Unwilling, and I've failed to inspire or earn the respect of the ones who belong there, because, I am an overblown disciplinary grammarian (Anything else, I loose half the class, but in being that I loose the class I want to keep). I'm fighting burn-out. There's such a high turnover for part-timers, and there's no institutional back up to help you deal with this sinking ship feeling. You just sink, alone, and they loose another teacher. As they told me at my *last* part time gig, "there's a line of people waiting to take your place."
On a lighter note. Lemmy is definitely going through a phase of some sort. I'm all scratched up, and he never scratches me. He's taken to sitting in front of M's shelves of vinyl and pulling out the records one by one with his paws, so they fall all over the floor. There are some records I wouldn't mind if he chewed up-- for instance-- this "Have Moisey" record with a doodle of a noodly wolf on it playing a noodly guitar. There's a song on that record about digesting spaghetti which M plays just to annoy me. I say, go for that one. But yesterday he was going for the Sandy Denny, and that's just uncool.