Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Navy Black

Some days it's not even worth getting dressed. Yesterday was one of those days.

I should have known when I woke up with a sore back from another restless night that the day would go downhill from there. When I got to school, I noticed that I had made the not-so-uncommon "guy" mistake of thinking that we can actually dress ourselves. Having donned what I thought were my ebony trousers early that morning, I proudly accesorized with a fine shirt with black accents, slipped on some black socks with my black shoes and even opted for the black belt over the brown. "My wife would be proud that I dressed myself again today."

Well, my black slacks never left the hanger, but my Navy Blue slacks sure looked suddenly blue in the fluorescent lights of my classroom against my black shoes. I thought I even heard my belt laughing at me in my wife's voice. Throughout the day, as students mentioned it, I reminded them that the math problems on the board were not going to work themselves.

I had also expected to get some much needed grading done on an early Monday morning, thinking that few, if any, students would show for tutorials at 6 am after a weekend break--wrong again. Luckily, I was sitting behind my desk as the eager students, more focused on why their homework wasn't working out than on why my wardrobe was incongruous, entered the room. One question after another. The SAME question one after another. By the end of the morning, I think I was the only one who had mastered that problem, although most of the students had mastered the art or color-coordinating their outfits. I guess we're all good at something.

During my first period conference, I thought my chance had come to do some grading, but instead was taken up by other administrative tasks and time spent with my Mentee (who was kind enough not to comment on my fashion faux-pas.) Then I fought through the throngs of student gossip depots during the passing period to arrive back at my class in time for homeroom, where I was immediately bombarded with requests for ribbons, scissors, construction paper, markers, tape, blah, blah, blah. I couldn't process the requests from the spirited sophomores who obviously remembered that it was homeroom door decorating day. I had forgotten the event, so my supplies were not on hand. By the end of the 25 minute period, our door looked respectable with the odds and ends we were able to pull together from other people's doors, only to see my neighbors finished project which looked like she had contracted it out to the Disney Imagineers! She apparently remembered the event, even planned before hand, as she had posted photos of each of her students wearing Santa hats. When it comes to door decorating, I'm a third stringer in the pee-wee leagues.

As I got into my teaching routine after that, I expected things to get better, much better, but for whatever reason, I felt disparately alone in front of the classes all day long. I was working harder than usual to deliver an invigorating, enthusiastic, witty, bombastic lesson, but with each increased effort on my part, the students' became increasingly listless and sleepy. During my lunch period, as a drew a breath a few minutes before the bell to release them to eat, I heard a raucous cheer in the back of the room, "Come on lunch, come on lunch." Not wanting to disappoint, I sat down at my desk for the remaining three minutes. By last period, nearly half of the class had their heads down on their desk. One student was even mopping it with his tongue.
An exceptionally bright young student who was fighting off the peer pressure from her hibernating peers offered an explanation, saying that she only got three hours of sleep the night before. Although I was really unsympathetic, figuring that the lack of sleep was self-induced due to procrastination and because I get very little more than that on a regular basis, I was grateful that at least she was awake to actually offer up the confession.

After school, I thought I'd check my phone messages. For the past week, my display has shown "one message," which I previously checked and was saving. Still showing "one message," I decided to check it anyway--10 new messages--All parents of students needing to talk. Some called multiple times, and had a noticeable growl in their voice. OOPS! Never again do I trust the conveniently misleading digital read-out on the phone.

With no time to return them then and there, I raced off to my doctor's appointment, where I did not want to be late for my 45-minute-sit-in-the-waiting-room-before-we-call-you- then-wait-20-more-minutes-in-the-patient-room-before-the-doctor-gets-to-you session. After only 5 actual minutes with the doctor, he told me I was in great shape, and wrote me a prescription for my blood-pressure medicine and a pair of black pants.

With an hour to kill before I had to pick up my daughter from her "dance" lesson, I went back to school to face the phone. The first call lasted almost 45 minutes and wore me out, but ended amicably. Like a criminal on trial taking the stand in his own defense, I justified my teaching methods, my personality, and my fashion sense until by mouth went dry. After the first call, I had time for one more quick one. The man said "hello," I talked non-stop for 5 minutes, after which the man replied, "that's all I needed to know. Thanks." Whew! An acquittal.

Racing to the dance studio, I arrived 36 seconds late. Feeling horrible for my tardiness, I apologized to the instructor, who couldn't discern if I was serious or jocular--neither could I at that point. And that's how the rest of the evening went. I was in a restless, cloudy state all night.

As I threw the football with my son, watched television with my wife on the couch, and played with my daughter, I couldn't concentrate on anything else but how wearing matching pants the next day would make tomorrow much better than today.


Anonymous said...

Wow! If I knew that a mismatched outfit would cause such a bad day, I would have picked something out for you. Maybe you should stick to khaki, or at least ask for help if you decide to go beyond the familiar brown hue.

kwkorpi said...

I'm going to adopt the Swiss approach to dressing: stay neutral.

Anonymous said...

Woo! go 4th period mabey an air horn will keep C.S. awake