Remember that Simon and Garfunkle song, “The Boxer”?
“In the corner stands a boxer
and a fighter by his trade,
and he carries a reminder
of every glove that laid him down
or cut him ’til he cried out,
in his anger and his shame
I am leaving Iam leaving but the fighter still remains…”
Some days teaching is like that. Some days the constant assertion of your will on the the unwilling seems futile and worthless. Some days, trying to accomodate every personality in your classroom, trying in vain to care for every mean-spirited emotional vampire, trying to make sure the little bastards don’t spill your art supplies in hidden corner or throw polluted candy in the candy bin you use to help them study, and trying to correct their HORRIBLE writing samples makes you hate the world.
What is the use? The little shit who put his already licked candy back in the bin is so completely self-involved that he thinks this action reflects badly on ME. Does he realize that he has effectively degraded what was left of his humanity into a pile of spittle and sugar? Probably not. His mother just tried to convince me to give him his make-up work from his seven days of suspension, so that he can make up a 14% grade in 3 weeks of class. When I replied, “Uhm…what would the point be?” Her response was, “So we can help him succeed! I anticipate your future cooperation.”
Would it be professional to scream “Fuck that–I tried to help him succeed for the first month of school before it became clear that his presence in my class was an insult to the kids who gave a shit?” Would it be helpful to refer the kid to a personality replacement clinic? Would my loony-toons insurance (i.e. free mental health care provided by the district) cover my ass if I cracked this little asshole a good one across his face and told him to get the fuck out of all human habitation and live naked in the desert so as not to offend sentient beings in the area, like the cockroaches that live behind my cupboard?
And then, because my whine-fest is in full swing, I get home and say, with as much dignity as I can muster, “I’ll call for pizza if someone does the dishes.”
Big T tried to get his sister to do it. I said (and too my shame this is a direct quote) “I don’t give a shit who does them, as long as it isn’t me, and as long as I don’t have to cook.”
That was four hours ago. Ten minutes ago T finished a semi-crappy job on the kitchen and was affronted when I didn’t thank him for doing the dishes.
Please, God, let him not be one of the obnoxious little fuckers out there making some other poor woman’s life miserable by being criminally obtuse. (I swear, if he wasn’t such a terrific kid most days, that thought alone would be enough to make me want to invent a time machine just so I can go back to my dumbshit 24 year old self and scream “Prophylactics, you stupid moo!!! You don’t want that swimmer to win!!!!” )
I just got back from a walk that was so damned cold I could see my breath and feel the chill on the skin of my back. When I got home, T was still (grudgingly) doing the dishes, and I couldn’t make myself go inside. The cave-troll would be there, wanting to cling to me, Ladybug would still be screaming from her crib–she can scream for ‘mommy’ now, when she’s so tired she can barely stand but still doesn’t want to go to bed, Chicken would still be there, wanting to talk to me when all I wanted, all my being was screaming for, was to be left the fuck alone. I’d sit down and knit, if I didn’t know there would be two kids and a cat, glomming to my body within minutes.
I’m bone dry inside. I mean, I have the weekend, and the Christmas lights made me smile, and I did take some solace in the idea that I made Bells pee herself laughing (:-) and that MamaDuck contacted me from the Harlots’ blog and she’s a fun person to talk to (and if nothing else I made a sale) but I’m running on such low emotional reserves. The drunken midgets have been clinging to me unmercifuly in the morning, and that feeling of futility, of not enough time in the day and not enough of me to to go around is growing to soul crushing proportions. The Cave Troll is on my lap even now, past his bed time, saying “mom mom mom mom mom mom mom” even though his father has fallen asleep in an effort to get the little boyshit to bed. (Lucky bastard, I might add.)
There are women who do this better, aren’t there? I hear about them. I read stuff they’ve written. I know out there, some woman has four kids, a stunning hobby, and a career that isn’t barely hanging on by a thread. We’re supposed to be able to make this work–I know we are. And we’re supposed to be able to do it while beating the laundry monster back with something less potent than a 500 volt cattle prod–but I can’t. I just can’t do it. I’m knackered. For tonight, for this moment, I am beaten, and the world has won.
And I hear that Simon and Garfunkle song… I stayed out in the breath-taking cold to hear the end of it as I prayed that T would finish the dishes so I wouldn’t have to talk to a soul as I came in the house. (Fat chance, right?) I was listening to “The Boxer”–you all remember it? The last words of the song…
“Lie lie lie…lie la lie…lie la lie lie lie lie lie la la la la lie…”