Friday, November 5, 2010

Dr. Jekyll and Mr... Jekyll?

I know I usually pretend that I'm simply above the consumption of popular mass media, but I think it's time I 'fess up. Of course I don't own something as bourgeois as a television set, but who watches tv on an actual television these days anyway?

Yes, I admit I've become a secret television junkie, courtesy of my aging iBookG4.  And I can't help noticing a repeated theme that must somehow appeal to the public imagination of the moment: the phenomenon of the double life. All of the most engaging characters seem to have them right now: Dexter, the mild mannered family man and secret serial killer; Walt, the middle aged chemistry teacher and secret crystal meth big wig; Nancy, soccer mom turned pot dealer, human trafficker and slut; even Finn, big man on campus turned glee club nerd.

And then there's me: teacher/grad student and secret... somethin' else. (The "somethin' else" might be explored in a future post whereby certain grown-ups will be asked to cover their eyes, so for the moment let's stick to the student/teacher act.)

Since Dexter, Walt, Nancy and I share this incongruity of experience, I couldn't help thinking that other people must too.  I asked around, and it turns out I'm not the only one who walks around faking it five days a week. Which means that even my classmate/nemesis Ellen, with her eighteen highlighters and judgy attitude, just might have another side, right? RIGHT?


Not so long ago, some of my classmates decided that we should all get together and get to know each other outside of school. Sounds like a good idea, doesn't it? Maybe we could all just be ourselves for a little while, no?


The Ladies decided that we should all get together for an ice cream sundae potluck and watch a documentary about child development... 'cause, you know, we don't get enough of that in our three hour lectures all week. I'm not going to say the name of the movie right now, because I wouldn't want one of them to google it and end up here by accident. Let's just say that it rhymes with "Rabies" and starts with B.

"Well, maybe it's an interesting movie," you say. Well maybe it is. Fine. I'm a sourpuss and I didn't go.
Did I misjudge them? What follows proves that, no, I did not misjudge them. If anything I under-estimated the Lame Quotient.

In this class of mine, there are about forty students. Just one of them is a man. Hank, we'll call him, since I can't be honest about anything anymore.

Hank is married, and his wife is pregnant with their first child. Great. In all seriousness and earnestness, I think that is just fantastic. I also think it's equally fantastic that other strangers that I know nothing about are having babies. And yet somehow, I am now supposed to dedicate two days of my FREE TIME, unpaid and without school credit, to make Hank's baby production in to a truly special occasion, over and above all the other strangers in the world producing babies.

I think I need to back up a bit. I've become wrapped up in my own incredulity, and I think I might have gotten a little bit ahead of myself. (Sorry, I've been ruminating over the ridiculousness of this situation all week.)

Let's get back to Lenore, my dear classmate who has decided to throw Our Hank (who probably doesn't even know who I am) a surprise baby shower at her mom's house. But it's not just a party - there's a catch. (I mean, a catch other than having to spend an afternoon with my nemesis at Lenore's mom's house, unpaid and not for course credit.) On top of the shower day, we are being asked to reserve another day where we will all get together to create a quilt for Who The Heck Are You's baby - a sewing party.

Yes, that's right. Each of us ladies is meant  to embroider a square of fabric, which will be sewn together to form a hand-made quilt.

I mean, SERIOUSLY? Embroidery? Or quilting, or crocheting, or whateverthehell they're going to do? I don't know how to QUILT for godsake - do you KNOW how long that would take me? Even with the enticing offer of a lesson from Lenore's mom? Plus, I don't even know this dude. In fact, I don't even know who Lenore is, I just got her name off the email. (And of course, her name isn't really Lenore, since Teacher=Lying About Most Things.)

I mean, look. Babies are great. Fine. I'm not such a curmudgeon. But I have REAL FRIENDS with babies. If I was going to make a freaking QUILT it would be for one of them. And you know what? I'm not making THEM quilts either, and no one would ever ASK me to, because they understand that some people have other things they like to do in their FREE TIME. Such as FUN. Remember FUN, teachers? I thought not.

Be glad you've read these words today, blogosphere,  because obviously as soon as any of the girls becomes a facebook friend, they'll be able to find the secret hiding spot that is digressions, and I'll have to remove this post. Although, unless someone reveals a personal side more interesting than documentaries that rhyme with "rabies" and knitting lessons from ma... we might just stick with the "classroom" relationship.