It’s one in the afternoon Saturday afternoon. There’s a huge football game in less than half an hour, but that’s my former university’s team, and anyone who knows me knows how loyal I am.
I may have been a Rainbow in the late eighties and early nineties, and then a Vulcan for two years in the mid-nineties, but I’m a Sea Warrior now, and now my blood runs blue and, well, whatever my new school’s other colors are.
Registration was a breeze, but the cute woman who’d been so helpful to the lady who’d registered ahead of me wasn’t nearly as helpful to me; I had to interrogate her about getting books, student identification, and a statement on the balance of my tuition.
I think she was fighting off the mutual animal magnetism or something by acting as if I wasn’t really there. I know she wanted me because when she heard that I teach at ASSETS, she asked me if I knew so-and-so who supposedly taught at my school a few years ago. Uh-huh. I’ve played that game. I invented it.
However, my mission is school, and I would not be steered away from it. I registered for two classes, one that meets at the Hawaii Loa campus and one that meets downtown. I picked up a student I.D. I purchased two hundred bucks’ worth of textbooks, including some adolescent psych text that was ninety-four dollars. Of course, I added to that a one-subject spiral notebook sporting the name of my new school and a black HPU t-shirt.
Registration day has always been one of the most exciting things about being a student. I know I’m a grad student, and I know I’m thirty-six years old, and I know I’m just a part-timer, but I’m still feeling the rush. It’s time to get busy.
You can’t see it now, but I’ve got my game-face on.
Actually, as most of my friends know, I’ve never been the kind of student who puts an extreme amount of effort into my schooling. I get As, but I shoot for Bs. Sure, I almost always do the assigned reading, but that’s more because I want to participate in class discussion than because I want good grades. It’s not so much the eye of the tiger I’ve got on my game-face as the beak of the mynah.
The school year has been a series of frantic sprints from one class to the next, interspersed with inordinate amounts of Yahoo! Literati and Age of Mythology. I get home from the crazy days at school and ‘though I’m exhausted, I don’t put myself to bed until I’ve first had a couple of hours of mindless decompression. I keep forgetting how therapeutic journaling is, even if it’s just to jot down the events of the day when that day’s events are identical to the previous day’s.
The classes have been good; my desperate planning all summer seems to be paying off, so far. I’ve established a new organizational system for my algebra classes and so far it’s working really well. The yearbook class is sorta hit-or-miss, but once we get rolling on our tasks, it’s going to pretty much direct itself. I have a very motivated staff who’s getting along well. The freshman computer class could almost teach itself, since this is now the millionth time I’m teaching it. I’d say my most improved course is the literary analysis class. Last year was my first year teaching it, and it was fun, but it was all over the place with not very much focus. This year, I’m centering the first semester on Heroes and Villains (it’s going to be a blast – we’ll hit on the traditional hero, the tragic hero, the reluctant hero, the anti-hero, the accidental hero, and any other hero I can think of) and then in the second semester on Love and Loss. I’m teaching Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream next semester. How much more awesome could English class get than that?
Something else I’ve always wanted to assign for reading is Jean Merrill’s The Pushcart War, a short novel written for sixth-graders that I think every high-schooler should read, especially every older high-schooler. It’s a great story about how the pushcart peddlers declare war against the truck-drivers, and is at once a wonderful look at these charming characters who sell merchandise from these pushcarts and at the same time a study of the progression of war. It comes complete with a “massacre,” a propaganda war, a setback for the good guys, letters to the newspaper, and behind-doors meetings of both sides’ leadership.
It fits in nicely with my theme this semester. But then I guess I could reasonably assign anything with a theme like that.
I had dinner last week with several classmates, some of whom I haven’t seen since college. Danny, Alan, and Derek I’ve seen a few times, since we have been to a few concerts together, but Chris was visiting from the mainland and it’d been thirteen years since I’ve seen him, and Mark, who was my best friend in seventh grade, I hadn’t seen since the late eighties. It was good. I was too talkative, but that’s really how those guys remember me anyway, so I’m sure they weren’t surprised.
The Village Idiots met at Penny’s for our first try at podcasting. I was mildly surprised that they were so willing to give it a go. We had fun, though, and it sounds like we’re going to continue this project at least for a while. I’m convinced that my friends’ personalities are so interesting that it almost doesn’t matter what they talk about – it’s going to be at least mildly interesting. The other idiots weren’t convinced of that, so we actually did a dry run with the microphones off; unfortunately, we sacrificed a little bit of spontaneity for that, but at least everyone loosened up a little. I’m hoping we’ll get together this weekend for another go.
I really appreciate the comments people have left in response to my Welcome to the D-List entry. I had lunch with R last Sunday after church and told her that I had been angrier with her that week than I’d been in years, and we talked about it, but not really. Then, she emailed me and then we talked on the phone, and it turns out that I had a million theories about why she wasn’t calling me and but none of them was right, because the real reason she wasn’t calling me was because I’d mentioned once how painful it was that whenever I called her, I could hear Mr. HBA’s voice in the background (the guy never stops talking, I tell you). She’d been so busy and spending so much of the rest of her time with Mr. HBA that she had trouble finding a moment to call me when she wasn’t with him.
I wasn’t counting on the reason for her not calling me being something nice. It’s true, unfortunately, that at least for now, I’d rather not talk to her on the phone at all than talk to her and have to hear his voice in the background. It’s stupid and I wish it weren’t so, but there it is. I’m miserable without her company, but I’m more miserable with his.
I was forced to ask myself if my distaste for him has anything to do with the fact that he’s going out with her, and as honestly as I can look at it, I have to say that it doesn’t. If she were going out with someone I admire or respect, like Ross or George or Tony, I’d be pretty darn fine with it. I don’t think any of those guys is right for her, but her going out with any of them would not cause me to like them less. I don’t mind losing to guys like them because they’re nicer than me. They’re smarter than me. They have greater faith. Two of them are better teachers. If she is not going to be with me, I want her to be with someone like that. How can I complain about losing to people like that?
If this relationship of hers lasts a while, I’ll get over it, but if it lasts a while, then this beginning period is just a small amount of time, and I think I’m entitled to my adjustment period if that’s what I need. And boy, do I need it.
I’m not doing anything for myself in not just moving forward, I know. But anyone who’s read the words in this space for a fair amount of time knows that (a) I like being miserable, and (b) I’m not willing to concede that the easy, sensible, practical, or healthiest decisions are right. I know this: I love her. I know this: Love sucks. Is loving someone else going to suck less?