Friday, October 26, 2007

Anxiously Searching for Shore From the MIddle of the Working Ocean

The school year is an easy one when compared with your typical fifty week working year with that two weeks of vacation tacked on and the occasional casual Friday. I understand that.

But even the super-easy school year has its tough stretches, and right now we're in our High Anxiety March to Thanksgiving period. And Thanksgiving is a month away, too far to be spotted by even the most eagle-eyed break-seeking teacher with the most powerful vacation binoculars money and bitterness can buy.

This week our school had "Parent/Teacher Conferences", a chance for parents to stand outside our classroom doors for long stretches waiting while other parents heard us teachers say the same thing over and over and over. You get a whole new realization of the influence cell phones have over our lives when you see parent after parent impatiently waiting outside your classroom door. What do people do when impatiently waiting these days? Cell phone.

I imagine being on the other end of a phone call from an impatiently waiting person isn't typically fun. The look on the face of the impatiently waiting parent was very much in keeping with the fact that we're in the High Anxiety March to Thanksgiving period, and I'm guessing the tone of these cell phone interactions was, uh, terse. I'll repress the desire here to go into a tirade about how cell phones are ruining society, and just apologize to all the impatiently waiting parents at my school last Wednesday. I now know how bank tellers feel on Friday afternoon at the end of the month when the Social Security checks come in.

And speaking of apologies, I got a comment from John Fleck at the Journal noting that his paper did have some coverage of the James Quinn memorial ride, despite my claim that it didn't. Now I could go on and on about how I couldn't find any coverage at the Journal website after significant time spent looking and all, but the fact is the Journal did have a short piece and a photo layout of the event. I apologize for not seeing it and flaking out about its incorrectly presumed non-existence. My mistake. And no, I'm still not going to subscribe to the hard copy of the Journal just because the paper's website is, uh, terse in its user-friendliness and overall scope of coverage.

So it's been a week of apologies, impatience and High Anxiety. Not a combination one would want to last any longer than necessary, yet this year's new, improved APS five-day Thanksgiving break (it's always been four-days before) is well beyond the curvature of the Earth at this point. Even though of us who strive fairly hard to stay "in the moment" and revel in the daily drudgery that makes life great are feeling a little antsy after a week like this.

I think it's time to go to Orbitz, type in various locales (Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Buenos Aires, Helsinki, Sofia, etc.), and plan that trip when the High Anxiety is but a pleasant, patient memory and the eleven weeks of summer vacation lays spread out before some of us like a endless, tranquil hiking trail in a lush, cool rain forest along a rocky, spectacular ocean coast. (Insert lengthy slack-jawed, day dreamy distant stare here...)

Thanks (and apologies). I needed that. Have a good weekend, everybody.

1 comment:

Rachel Maurer said...

Thank goodness I was not one of the cell phone-offending parents. Whew, I dodged that bullet. Nope, I actually brought a book (Tim Weiner's "Legacy of Ashes") to read while I waited outside various JMS teachers' doors. I guess I might be considered a ludite by other parents. Oh well. I'll bring my cell next time. --