Saturday, June 29, 2013

J and I are close in size.  We frequently share clothing and shoes.  Yesterday she asked me what size shoes her mother wore.  I am sad she does not remember.  I am sad when I think of Colleen's shoes, worn so unevenly because of her broken gait, her feet two different sizes, her left foot scarred from surgeries.  She used to break her toe on a regular basis because she refused to wear the brace that would prevent her toe from bending the wrong direction.  J cannot see these things behind her eyelids anymore.  She is forgetting.


Saturday, June 22, 2013


When I was about nineteen I briefly dated a bartender who worked at the bar where I very nearly lived.  I was young and stupid enough to think there was something special about being chosen by this bartender, a man who spent his working life with drunken women flirting with him and trying to capture his attention.  Because he chose me.  I do not remember if he was attractive, if I liked him, or much about him.  Just that he worked at the bar.  I remember his first name.

He had a motorcycle rather than a car, which is ridiculous when you live in a city that is buried in snow eight months a year, but you know, he was a bartender.  He was significantly older than I was.  And I expected my mother to protest (mostly about the bike) but she did not.  She may have been too busy coping with my sister's more dangerous exploits to notice mine, or she may have secretly hoped I would be killed and ease her parental burden.  I dated him briefly enough that I never found out how he got to work in the long, long prairie winter.

Riding on the back of a motorcycle is overrated.  I know women who find it exhilerating and sexy.  I do not.  I might find driving a motorcycle exhilerating and sexy, but riding on the back of one is nothing special.  He used to become irritated with me because I wouldn't lean in to the curves with him.

He kept telling me how important it was to go with the bike, to let my body relax and lean in.  And each time he said it, I would resolve to do it, to trust him, to lean into the turn.  But every time it happened I could not stop myself from fighting him, fighting against the bike and its driver and especially against gravity, all conspiring to pull me down into the asphalt where I knew I would break and swallow my teeth.

He would stop the bike afterward and turn around to face me, talking loudly so I could hear him through both our helmets.  But undoubtedly talking loudly because he was frustrated with my mulish refusal to follow his explicit instructions.  You have to lean into the turn, he would say.  And I would nod, and promise to do it next time.  

I never did it.

(I am saying this because you wondered if you noticed yourself changing, if you would have time to stop the change before it overtook you.)

If you were to ask him about me today, he would say, No, I do not remember her name, No, I do not remember what she looked like.  But I definitely do remember that she would never lean into the turns.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

This afternoon, quite by accident, I found myself in a roomful of colleagues re-enacting Monty Python sketches.  I told them they were collectively the least datable people in the entire world but it only spurred them on (apparently none of them wish to date me).  There is something seriously wrong with people who feel the need to memorize and re-enact Monty Python.  (And people who do not want to date me.)


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

a drinking game

Today one of my twelfth grade boys confessed to me in a moment of pure candor that last night, while feeling overwhelmed about his upcoming final exams, graduation from high school, and moving out of his parents' house to live on the university campus, he watched a documentary about Susan Boyle and went to bed and cried.

a.  I love this kid.

b.  I love that this kid told me something so ridiculous and personal.

c.  I love that he knows I love him enough that I could tease him about it instead of being sympathetic, which, for the record, I am.


Monday, June 17, 2013


In the case of Lisa versus Crazy Sue, Lisa wins.

The school board sent me a letter today stating that the investigator found that there was, indeed, harassment, and stated that disciplinary action will be taken.  That is all.  Nothing to specify what that actually means.

Now I appreciate very much the fact that Crazy Sue, like all of us, is entitled to her privacy, but it would have been nice to have some idea of what's happening now as it impacts me.  I mean, will she go to another school and harass someone else?  Or will she just continue to share the space with me with an administrative direction to quit bugging me?  Or what?  I suppose it will all come out eventually, but it was a little surprising to have such an inconclusive conclusion.

My Department Head suggests that Crazy Sue is probably leaving our school anyway, not because she is being forced to, but because she has decided to.  This guess is based upon the fact that Crazy Sue has been out "sick" for the last couple of weeks but has been coming in to the school in the evenings and removing all her belongings from her classroom.  I think it would be delightful if she would leave and I never saw her again.  I would love it if she would choose to do that, but I would love it even more if administration would tell her to do it.

Anyway, it's over, hallelujah.  Although I have no idea what I've won, I've won.  And at least I now have something official that proves that Crazy Sue was targeting me.  Forcing the administration to examine that and come to a conclusion, the right conclusion, is certainly something.



Friday, June 14, 2013

Drinks that come in salt-rimmed glasses are okay in my book.


Friday, June 07, 2013

Light standards

This morning Heg called me on my classroom phone, interrupting the flow of pearls of wisdom I was distributing.  "Hello," I said, only mildly irritated.

"Lisa, I need you to be a medium," he said immediately, rapidly.

"Umm..." was all I could think of while my mind conjured up ridiculous images of spiritual mediums dressed in gypsy bangles.  And that blond woman from Long Island.

"Well can you?"  He seemed a little impatient for a man who was asking me to take a rather large step outside my comfort zone at 8:30 in the morning.

"Ummm..." I said with even less conviction than the first time.  I like to try new things, really, but I felt a bit put on the spot.

He said, "Okay, great, thanks, bye," all staccato like that,  and hung up.

When I cornered him in the staffroom later to ask him what in the hell he was talking about he told me that he had run out of Small staff t-shirts and so he needed me to take a Medium instead.


Literally ten minutes after that phone call, I received a second call from the Counselling office.  "Hi," I said, feeling weary.  It was NJ.

He said, "Hello, Live Wire!"

It was too early to ask questions.  I just said, "Hello N, what's up?"  I expected him to ask me to send a student up to talk to him.

Instead he said, "I'm just calling to tell you that I'm going to call you Live Wire from now on.  Is that okay with you?"  I could hear in his voice how delighted he was with this pronouncement.

"Yeah, sure," I said, while thirty curious twelfth graders stared at me.

"Okay good.  Bye Live Wire!" he said and hung up.

I don't really know NJ very well.  Certainly not well enough for him to know whether or not I'm a live wire.  And not, I thought, well enough for him to bestow upon me a nickname.  It appears I was mistaken.

When I shared this story later with RDub (I'm allowed to give nicknames) he found it more hilarious than bewildering (as I did) and insisted on my listening to Mötley Crüe's version of Live Wire with him.

I feel like my workplace is becoming a bit of a circus.


Still nothing on Cuckoo Soo.


Tuesday, June 04, 2013

If you remember me, then I don't care if everyone else forgets.

Khaled Hosseini's new book is called And the Mountains Echoed.  And so far I like it very much.  I have a somewhat proprietary feeling about Hosseini, as though he is my own.  (I suppose I share that feeling with hundreds of thousands of other people, which I resent.)  I grow possessive of writers I think of as mine.  And their books.  Possessive but simultaneously wanting to share, perhaps like a drug dealer who wants to be paid for getting you hooked, or maybe more like an artist who wants you to love his work but not to steal it and sell it as your own.

I miss you.  It is an uncomfortable feeling, one which expands and contracts beneath my rib cage.  It gives me ghost pains in the place you used to be.