Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesdays and Thursdays always make me feel like I'm running all day. The day starts at Department Store unloading the truck, so I'm there by 7:15. Even if the truck is late (and it is always late, by an hour or more, these days), we have plenty to do to get ready for it, so I usually click into fast mode and start moving merchandise. That pretty much sums up what we do there: We move stuff. Of course, there is a lot more thought into where we move it to than that sounds like, but I'm mostly the brawn of this operation. I am not great at looking at a set of tables and T-shirts and deciding how to make them look better, but I can move the table and shirts for you. Anyway, compared to teaching, which mostly involves pacing for me (and hunting for my chalk), and compared to copy editing (let's face it: that's just sitting), Department Store job is pretty active. I have been back working on the since school started, whereas before I was primarily in charge of making sure all the signs in the store were accurate (a never-ending job), so it has taken me a few weeks to get used to how tired my body has been. I am getting less tired now, but these are definitely long days for me.

Also, today is payday, so I need to go grocery shopping after work. Usually, there is nothing that irritates me more, but since I have actual money today, I'm happy to go. Then, I'm going to hear a speaker at 7:30, so my evening is pretty much chewed up by groceries, cooking dinner, and the speaker, but that's ok tonight.

I used to be a night owl. I'd be up til 1:00 a.m. every night, just because. I mean, I was doing this right up til I started at Department Store. But I'm not a spring chick anymore, and if I tried to do this schedule on 5 or 6 hours of sleep, I... I wouldn't be able to do it. I'd get sick. I'd be so tired I couldn't copy edit. So, last night I was in bed by 9:36, and lately, even on weekends, staying up til 11 p.m. is pushing it. But even so, I napped for a half hour between jobs today at lunch. So, I'm starting to feel like I'm living to work instead of working to live. I need to find something to look forward to. It's more challenging these days. In the past, I'd plan a trip, even a little weekend getaway, but right now, things are too tight. There is a light at the end of all of this-- it won't always be this tight. But right now, I need to deal with the money in the bank, not the promise of a different future.

But it's amazing what you adjust to: Sometimes the thing you look forward do is that you are going to forego coffee for a few mornings, but then when you stop and get a mocha, it's a real treat. And actually, sometimes these days, the treat is taking the occasional Sunday off so I get a two-day weekend.

I just now remembered something I used to say for years when I didn't really have to think about how much money was in the bank: I buy used furniture and used cars. For me, the lap of luxury was being able to dine out (or order in) frequently, and go to the bookstore and not limit the amount of books I got at one time. I remember saying,

"I don't want to get to the point where those things don't feel like treats to me, because if those things are always treats, I'll always kind of be all right."

And to some extent that is true-- but dammit, I want my books and takeout, LOL. It's hard to get used to so little financial wiggle room, but water seeks its own level. You adjust. You get creative. You start to figure out why people buy in bulk.

Last winter, I was hanging out with my friend Jamie on day, and all we were doing was talking and listening to music or watching TV and drinking wine. He said, "What would you be doing tonight if money were not an issue?"

"This." I told him. "This is what I was doing when money wasn't an issue."

And that felt really good.

I'm not writing about any of the things I'm thinking about-- I have a million things jumbling around in there, tossing around like socks in the dryer, but when I sit down to write, a few of the socks go missing. It might surprise you how much I think about social justice. Because I am teaching a freshman writing class, I am always thinking about what is going on in our world, and how to link that back to critical thinking. Right now, we are critiquing education. I feel so passionately about the shit I'm talking to them about, but I don't know how much of it is sinking in. I asked them the other day what an allegory was. A pond of blank faces stared back at me. I had to bite my tongue from crowing, "I love freshman! You don't know anything!" But it is kind of a big responsibility to realize how little these kids know. And that my job is to try to teach them how to think. Talking about thinking is trickier than you might think because it all gets so meta that it gets hard to unpack it all.
I recall, though, that there are usually a few weeks every semester where I feel like my class is a big mess, a pumpkin with its guts coming out of its mouth, but by the end, everything sort of comes together. Usually. Hopefully.

But my brain is tired now, and I have more work to do, so I'll close for now.

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