nerve learning

I’ve learned how to argue with nervous parents over rules. All it involved was a trick: saying the same thing over and over again in a soothing tone of voice. Sometimes I slide the bar further from ‘soothing’ and closer to ‘calmly authoritative,’ but it’s all pretty close. 

Somehow around the fifth or twelfth iteration it suddenly clicks for him or her – whether it’s the actual reception of information or just the knowledge that there are certain things that no amount of wheedling – or threatening – will change. 

I’m sorry, I know it’s difficult, but the director has asked me to ask you for a note from your doctor specifically stating that your child has an allergy. I know, I understand that the first note was from your child and he has very strong feelings, very angry feelings about gluten but we can’t accept a gift card from Target with crayon on it as a valid substitute for a doctor’s note. Well of course I think Taylor has promise as an artist. Of course he’ll grow out of wanting to be a garbage collector/dentist. You’re right, that isn’t a profession. 

cyclic behavior

I would say I’ve been unfaithful, but that would mean I was writing on some other blog and that isn’t it, that isn’t it at all. 

I always feel strange when I return, suitcases in hand. I’ve never been so far before. Is that true, exactly, or just how I feel? I can’t tell. I can’t tell if I’m returning triumphantly or with my tail between my legs, and isn’t it all subjective, after all, and don’t all my adventures take on the flavour and texture of a dream, isolated from where they took place? 

And then there are the adventures, the experiences that will always seem like dreams, no matter where one stands. 

I’m back, for whatever it’s worth, for however long it lasts – and whomever I actually am, nowdays. 

seals

It’s always the same; one parent starts to look a little tired, while the other appears normal. Fast forward a certain amount of time, and one of them looks like his or her best friend died, and the other looks like a beautifully well-trained circus seal: plump and sleek and shiny, all over.

Sometimes the seal is a woman and sometimes it’s a man. I haven’t seen any great differential gap between who does the hurting and who gets hurt – between the jellyfish and the seal.

why hating work is useful

I was glad to be back to steady work. Steady work is steady money, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I mean the feeling of loathing that washed over me – here I am again, everything looks the same, everyone is the same, even if they’re not.

I know that’s not really clear, not the way I mean it to be, at least. 

There’s a chance to find yourself in work, especially in work that you dislike. There’s a framework imposed upon you, and you’re forced to create yourself inside it. Now of course I’m not advocating that everyone go out and find soul-crushing employment. Nor am I saying that people who are really really happy with their jobs are missing out on something. I guess what I’m saying – what I’m trying to say, rather – is that there’s a certain unpleasantness inherent in life, like chores. Like wiping runny noses or poopy butts, like bleaching the toilet bowl or cleaning out the bits of half-chewed food at the bottom of the sink. There are those things, then there’s getting terrible news – a teacher is quitting! A parent has decided to find his/herself and has abandoned the rest of the family! The latest guinea pig has gone to heaven and the pet store is going to close in ten minutes! The inspectors are here! 

And in those moments, the terrible as well as the mundane, I learn more about myself (and sometimes those around me) that I ever did meditating, as good and head-clearing as that was, or traveling, as amazing and eye-opening as that was.

So I walked in the door, hung up my car keys and old bag on the same hook, put on the same old name tag, and thought I hate working. Isn’t it great?

 

objects

Sometimes I think the only moments I have of joy are caused by utilitarian objects. Sharp scissors that cut construction paper and are where I last left them? Googly eyes with auto-adhesive backs? A hardback version of a classic book with wipe-down pages? The dopamine spike is sharp and immediate.

I read my gratitude journal and ask myself when it was exactly that I became a school marm? Am I unquestionably one? I must be, if I know the word.

I know how to pronounce Nietzsche too, but no one asks.

another note

I guess I should say something about why I was gone so long, but am back now. I guess.

Did I write that book, after all? I did. It wasn’t about daycare, remotely. It’s in a drawer, and will probably never see the light of day. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the maturity to handle the aftermath of it being published, but you can think what you like to about my reasons. Everyone always ends up thinking what they want, anyway.

The other day – trite but true – I looked at this page for no reason, passing curiosity, and saw the number of followers had actually grown. I felt a little sorry and a little sad, because even if all those people aren’t waiting for my eventual return, it sort of looks like it.

I wanted to begin with a phrase along the lines of ‘can’t keep a good man down,’ but there doesn’t seem to be a place for it. I wanted to say something short and clean, but –

I’m back. I guess that’s it.