Thursday, May 10, 2018

dry as a bone out here, not a drop of rain since about october, though there was a couple of inches of snow at one point. people are a touch sensitive about fire and fires. you can't just step outside your car and light a cigarette, or make some old campfire, the whole mountain might burn down. spring is the very dry, very windy season and we have to hope for the most part, to just get through it alive.

this leaves me wondering - where do the bears go, this time of year? the deer? the elk? not a single mountain spring anywhere with actual water in it.

going to portland on friday morning early, for a son's wedding. it's a pretty good thing, a son getting married and all, but one of the things about it is the lush plants and flowers of portland. it rains all winter out there, so things have been ready to bust out i'm sure, and i'll bring pictures. here, i have no idea how new grass even turns green. i like to say, when it rains out here, you want to go stand in it, but you don't want to rob the ground beneath you of its annual supply.

my job has taken a turn for the very twisted, very difficult. i'm only a sub, but i've taken over a class, a ninth-grade english class, of a teacher who punctured two lungs and may not make it. this class was a little tough on this teacher, i think, but they are just kids, and aren't aware of the degree to which they crushed his dreams, or even wore him out. he taught six classes per day, of anywhere from twenty to forty students per class, a hundred sixty total, and there's a lot of grading in there. these kids, all fourteen-year-olds more or less, had got a little wild, a little over the top.

one of them, my sixth hour, is by far the worst. it has a couple of very large, very physical boys and on the first day, they almost had a fight in which i thought one would kill the other, and would kill me if i were in the middle of it. i called security and it took them forever to get down there, whereupon they hauled the boys off. another kid told me that the one boy was only talking sh--, so i put that in the report, but i also told the truth - i thought it was getting murderous.

but the boys are actually pretty good friends, and so is everyone else in the class; they seem to accept each other in all their differences. there are timid kids who are scared to death of the rampant anarchy of every class and a long list of subs. there have been subs who threatened them, or cajoled them, or tried to restore some kind of order, no success. they're just too wild.

but today there was a lockdown drill, and even the local police were to come and see how well we did, and it was scheduled for two o'clock, beginning of sixth hour. they came to class exuberant as usual, ready to raise cane. a few went back and forth to the bathroom as they often do the first few minutes. then the lockdown orders came over the speakers.

the boys got everyone inside, shut the door and literally threw desks up against the door. mind you, you are supposed to barricade the door, but they took to it with a passion unparalleled in my experience. notebooks flew off the desks as they lifted them and fit them in there against the door. we all got away from the door, as far as we could, and most people sat down. with the lights off, the room got very tired, like we were taking a nap. they played with their phones. i had never heard this class quiet, even for a minute; now it was quiet for a whole ten, fifteen minutes. it was heavenly.

overall i felt like telling them, if there was any chance of some wild gun person coming through shooting randomly, i'd rather be with this particular group of wild boys, than just about anyone else.

in fact, teaching young fourteen-year-olds is like that. it's hard to see that they're actually just people, nice people, but they're trapped in this hormone factory body, and it is so all-consuming that often they don't even recognize me once they get out in the hallway. they live for the social experience, the world of fourteen-year-olds, and the need to impress is so strong, it's all-consuming. and the energy is constant, overwhelming.

that's life in the high school. barricaded doors, cell phones, a little peace and quiet. outside, the sounds of administrators explaining something to the police. over the loudspeaker, they lift the lockdown, back to chaos as usual.


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