Chapter 13: Bad Decisions
Today is one of those days where I just keep making Bad Decisions. The first was to re-set my alarm for a little bit of snooze time, since I figured my hair was "basically clean" and could do without being washed. I then got distracted by my eyebrows and spent a hugely disproportionate amount of time working the tweezers and daydreaming that I was a contestant on the gameshow I saw last night (and obviously that I blew everybody away.) The snoozing and dawdling led to my missing my bus and to my next Bad Decision: instead of waiting for the next one, I experimented and took a bus that goes in the same general direction, only to find myself on an epic detour route and stuck in a traffic jam. Definitely late for school.
Today's choice of clothing was another Bad Decision. Somewhere among the dawdling and obsessive tweezing, I realized I had to throw on some clothes and get on my way. I chose a red plaid-ish corduroy shirt because it's very comfortable and Franck says that it's cute -- when worn at home with track pants for sitting on the couch and other such activities. My big mistake was my choice to pair it with jeans, particularly a pair that looks too short with running shoes, so I wear them with my boots, which are like construction boots. The result is that I am wearing a plaid shirt with jeans and work boots, which is really not school appropriate. And which makes me look like a lumber jack, as several of my students pointed out.
My final and most flagrant Bad Decision was in joining my grade nine class in the library for a guest speaker. I could only stay for one of the two hours before I had my grade seven class to teach; considering my recent emotional instability -- and my personality in general -- I should have known better than to attend a presentation by an Auschwitz survivor. On the one hand, I was glad to see the students, usually blasé and badly-behaved, become riveted and thoughtful; they were respectful and showed a deeper intelligence than I have seen from them in class. On the other hand, a big, heavy other hand, I couldn't pull myself together. I took a few minutes and tried to compose myself in the bathroom, but when I got to class and Stéphanie saw my red eyes and asked if I was okay, I started weeping in front of my terrified little twelve-year-olds. We went to my classroom and one of the girls offered me a kleenex, a kind gesture that just set me off again; we ended up doing a big multi-category bingo so that I could settle down while they drew their boards. Note to self: no more emotionally-charged activities during school hours. (I'm on my lunch break and am still a bit shaky -- have you ever seen a Holocaust survivor speak? Can you even imagine his courage to spend his life going over and over the details so that young people will understand? As if any of us can ever really understand.)
As for the arty French play, we had our rehearsal. It's hard to find a place among actors in the middle of a play, their intimacy and routines and so on, but they went out of their way to be welcoming and inclusive, which was nice of them. I tried to take this into account when I saw their excessive warm-ups, jumping around and twisting into balls on the floor. I was unreasonably irritated and tried to remember that it feels good to be in your own little warm-up; it's just so dorky to watch! The director talking to one of the actors, giving some kind of note from last rehearsal, and the guy won't stop jumping up and down and swinging his arms. You can't wait two minutes? Can you please stop jumping and just have your conversation? He was the most hard-core in his warm-up and was in the play a total of six minutes, mostly without moving. Go figure.
As for the play, which I saw in its entirety, it couldn't be any more irritating. Maybe if they blasted a siren through the whole thing, maybe then. Otherwise, from the first cryptic line to the awful sound effects, from the non-story to the barking voices, it is the biggest piece of crap I have ever seen -- and I've seen lots of crap, believe you me. The actors are embarrassed to be part of this "experiment," they won't invite their friends... I can't even describe it. You wouldn't believe me if I did. I convinced Nicolas that the piano had no place in this play; the music is fine as it is, I don't think I have anything to add to what Duke Ellington
already came up with. He's a pretty good pianist, you know? The sound clashes, as well, the fuzzy '30s jazz and the bright piano, and my entrances and exits are just confusing to an already-baffled audience. So it seems like I'm off the hook, and all I can do is send sympathetic thoughts towards the humiliated actors.