This is the crankiest time of year for teachers. The weeds are growing. This time of year, we worry about what the students have done, if it was the right stuff, and if we told them the truth.
Today I sat in someone else’s classroom and we talked about what classes the kids should take, and how things are and aren’t working for them. It was a great, productive talk, and my mind was chomping all over the place, like that Hungry Hippos game. What should we do? Who should I talk to? What could we change, and how would it have to be spun? Lots of sprouts, and what to pluck out?
Later, at the gym, as I ran on the treadmill, I was thinking about what I should do to “fix” everything, and President Obama on television only soothed me slightly. I did notice that he looked like he had things under control. And he is the leader of the free world, as they say. That wasn’t quite enough to calm me down. When I returned to the locker room, this lady was lying flat on the tile floor. Everyone had stopped what they were doing to help her. What had happened? She felt dizzy. She had been in the hot tub, and she felt dizzy and faint, so she laid down.
All evening, I should have thought about everyone stopping, and the spontaneous sweetness in the locker room, rather than watching a TV show on factory farming. I should have thought about the lady who laid on the floor and said, “I feel so embarrassed,” while these two old ladies sat on the bench and cooed over her, just like her own grandma would.
They waited for her to decide if she wanted to go to the ER or call her husband. One of them eventually walked her to the front room and hunted down enough change to buy her a candy bar. “I’m sure you’re fine,” everyone kept saying. “It’s probably just your blood sugar.” The whole thing was so lovely. And who planted it?
I could focus on this, instead of the ugly weeds. On TV, they show people on factory farms treating chickens like rocks. Chickens may not deserve sunlight or enough space to walk, but I just know they are not the same as rocks or chairs. I know this. Not that I’m suggesting you take your stress out by abusing your chairs. Careless cruelty isn’t ever a healthy attitude, even when you’re all alone.
Everything’s growing, in the spring, and it’s great, and it’s scary. Kids grow out of your hands. You cook yourself up into a tizzy and you slip. People treat chickens like rocks. (I know, I can’t get over that.) I can’t weed the whole world. And, frankly, no one has been crazy enough to ask me to.