Wednesday, March 12, 2014

At the Corner of Random and Whatever

I've started no fewer than four blog entries in the last few days and none of them have panned out into anything worth a full post. I'm going to claim grading fatigue after reading and marking 180 English I benchmark essays in three days time. According to Web MD, I should now have the brain function of a woman with a penchant for sucking on car batteries.  Herewith some samples gleaned from a recent dumpster dive into my brain:

*How do I express my real thoughts about hot-button issues without generating a Category 5 Shitstorm Alert from at least three people in my real life? Once I observed an elderly woman directing her husband into a parking space and I described her impatience with him on a previous blog. Because it was my blog and I thought their interplay was amusing. I was immediately pilloried by a guy I knew from college who said I was making fun of old people, which was not even true and certainly not at all the intention of the post. Needless to say I did not give him the location of my current website.

This kneejerk enmity is actually a much bigger problem on Facebook, since I seem to have absolutely no trouble getting 159 people to weigh in with their favorite kind of pie in a span of 30 minutes. However, even this lame conversational thread will immediately be followed by an exchange of gunfire and an argument started by an old acquaintance who will claim that President Obama's alleged love of pecan pie was a direct result of his influence by the pecan lobbyists. Then someone else who knows me but does not even know the author of the pecan comment will attack said commenter and I start to wonder if there is ANY topic that won't initiate a Shiite-variety response, because apparently none of us is even allowed to have an opinion on anything unless we have personal and documented experience with that particular thing. Which is weird, because I thought the very definition of opinion meant that it didn't necessarily require experience.

Meanwhile, I have a total of 16 people who profess to read this blog and only eight of them comment regularly. Maybe if I wrote about pie every day...

*Spring Cleaning. By this I mean the literal kind where I begin hauling out unworn/ill fitting clothing in bags designated for Goodwill, beating rugs on a clothesline and attacking every cobweb with a shop vac. And... the figurative kind where I distinguish the difference between those people in my life who are authentic (read: here for the long haul) and those who are merely familiar. There's a lot of dead wood in my life and I'm currently busy using all of it to build a bridge which I will promptly set on fire.   The unfortunate result of this will be a greatly reduced circle of friends, but it's my belief that people have to earn that designation and I've been far too generous with it in the past. Case in point: Do not use the amount of time my job requires from me to justify how busy YOU have been--and thus-- explain why you haven't returned a text or call from me since November.  My watchword for this year is going to be reciprocity. I refuse to participate in relationships (face-to-face or on social media) where reciprocity is not at work. Ain't nobody got time for anything else...

* Recent staff meeting reminder: Apparently, it is now considered bad form to use all capital lettering on any word in any email communications (for any reason) with parents of students. Downtown authorities are calling this a bridge too far because it's like we are shouting at parents and their delicate feelings. Even when they deserve it.  Whatever. I'm over it.

*I gave up wine for Lent, but I actually started it two weeks early. Not because I'm worried about being an alcoholic, but because wine touches off my grim attraction to every salted food in the house. Kosher dills lead to cashews which lead to popcorn. Popcorn is the gateway drug for kettle chips and I'd rather be caught driving carpool in a pair of parachute pants and a Hello Kitty! shirt than live life without kettle chips. Is there a medic alert bracelet for this?

*Impending birthday realizations: 1) Four years of teaching at the New Jack City/Hamburger Hill of elementary schools did not in any way prepare me for dealing with middle-class parents who believe in a world where formalwear dances are un-ironically held for 7th and 8th graders and terms like "date" and "corsage" and "grinding while you dance" are used.  I do not understand why they need to have this experience so early. 2) It occurs to me that I will never know what it is like to live in New York City or spend any length of time in a respected and well-paid profession (Rosie O'Donnell calls this "sick Oprah money". Yes, please.) Those ships have sailed and I'm sad about both of them. 3) Every recent picture of me suggests a relapse photo from High Times magazine. (Disclaimer: If you have a friend struggling with addiction, please pump the brakes on your personal umbrage. I'm not addressing anyone you know.)
4) Personally, I believe that the Tea Party movement is nothing more than a clown car full of maniacs with a bad case of road rage and every time I see a treasured friend quote them on Facebook I lose the will to live. Then end.