Monday, August 27, 2018

the tiger below represents my return to alamogordo high school; i am now in the third week of teaching algebra I and algebra II as a permanent sub. last week the word was that someone would come and replace me, but he never showed up, and i remain here, in an upper southern hallway, a little outside the main traffic centers of the building. sun bathes the hallways and heats them up, but my room is steadily air conditioned.

there are seven class periods of the day, and i get the second one off. this is fortunate because it helps me get organized, and it contains the pledges, which always make me uncomfortable. the rest of my day is a steady stream of 9th and 11th graders who have all kinds of problems with algebra, most psychological. they get their parents involved. they complain about the homework. worst, they try to disrupt classes so that everyone is as bad off as they are. i struggle with this and teach algebra the best i can. it's like esl in that you teach people to do stuff, as opposed to just knowing it.

we subs are at the bottom of the food chain, always about to be devoured by someone, or disappear entirely. nevertheless i have what could be called a math teaching career. i try to teach math. some of them try to learn. we solve for x. this happens day in and day out.

this morning, the high school is calm. security is at every door, and the late people are getting passes written up to enter the building. i think the real troublemakers don't even show up on monday mornings, but i am new to this situation, and i stand corrected constantly for just being too easy on them. i let them go to their lockers; i let them come and go perhaps too freely. this was a sticking point for me when i was in school - people telling you where and when you could move, people putting you in one seat and keeping you there, etc. i never liked it and always felt that i learned in spite of it. now, i'm feeling that if i don't assert more control, i'll lose everything.

it's back in high school for me. i'm sixty-four, and hanging around a big old building that seems remarkably similar to the one i occupied at the ages of 16-18. does one get past this? i'm sure i will, eventually.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

sleep study

A bed in an institution – I am here in bed, with wires coming out of me in every direction. Some are colored wires. They measure my brain, my heart, my sleeping, everything. Somebody is watching, very closely.

The room has a fan – this is comforting. So are two pictures of tropical beaches – the idyllic life, which I know so little of, but which beckons to me from the picture. White sand, turquoise sea, young healthy palms, sun and breeze – somebody, here, is enjoying a good life, though I don’t see anyone in the pictures.

No thanks to the television – sometimes, I’m in a motel, and I’ll turn one on, but, in my ordinary life, I shun them, and they sometimes actually disturb me. I’ll watch the news or something, and it’ll make me upset. In this case, I wonder if the machines would pick up my blood boiling.

The sleep study place is actually in the town where I work, 13 miles down the hill from where I live. The altitude is quite different – we are at about 3400 here, but I live at 8700. The nurse says, yes, it is an issue, and you might want a sleep study done up in the mountains, closer to the elevation you’re used to. Up there, we sleep with the windows open, from May until about September, and it’s rained a lot, if that has anything to do with anything. Down here, it’s the desert – the hot, intense sun beats every day – and I’m surprised that it’s so pleasant at night. I was used to this place as always being sun-baked.

I’m ready to sleep already. If they can tell me how I snore, how I sleep, what happens, I’m all for it. I’ll wear one of those masks at night – I’ll do what they advise me. If it makes me sleep better, I’m in.

Saturday, August 11, 2018