Wednesday, June 23, 2004


My first year teaching, I thought I'd get a chill summer job at some cool indie bookstore in the city. I'd earn a little cash without having anything to do with summer school or serving people food. I dreamed of working at the Strand... the books! the cool, musty, dark stacks! the helpful yet surly nerdy counterculture employees! O how I longed to be among them! What I did not know but quickly learned (and really should have known) is that NYC is not a summer tourist economy, so no one was looking for extra summer help, and those who were willing to take me on wanted me to stand outside on the sidewalk all day for $5/hr. I wasn't in it for the money, but I also wasn't willing to fry daily for $25.

I gave up my Strand fantasy, faced the fact that I was not going to earn any money over the summer, and proceeded to completely freak out for a week. I was irritable and moody, flying high on freedom and free time one minute, completely aimless and ennui-ridden the next. After a few days and a kick-in-the-ass from a boyfriend, I found ways to structure my time so that I didn't wake up at noon every day and then hate myself for not being productive. I do NOT have a just-kick-back-and-do-nothing kind of personality; I think it's something to do with being from New England, the Protestant Work Ethic, etc. Projects! I need projects!

I have gone through at least a few days of the What Am I Doing With Myself Blues every summer since. The last day of school is a big but tiring party, followed by two or three days of sleeping and reading almost non-stop, I realize that I've read the entire Harry Potter series in 5 days and what, WHAT am I DOING with myself????

Well, this year I might get to skip that part of summer vacation, as in the span of 4 days I will finish school, get completely smashed (er, celebrate), spend the next day frantically tying up loose ends, hop on an airplane, move into a new place, and start my Science/Math Connection class. Nope, I don't see any room for aimlessness...

But change is hard. There's been a lot of it lately - relationships ending and changing, some shattering like earthquakes, some shifting like dunes. People going away. People coming back. The end of a school year approaching. Monday, I was psyched about leaving and starting something new. Today, I am blue, underwater, disconnected, squirming in my own skin, considering chopping off all my hair, wanting lettuce but eating nachos... it will pass. But tomorrow I am going to be psyched again. If not tomorrow, then Friday. I am going to miss those kids, I always do, no matter how much I swear I never want to see them again, goodbye and good riddance.


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