Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rubber Bands in the Dryer

I have taken to eating one chocolate ball every day after I come home from an exhausting day of work. The balls are wrapped in golden and red aluminum foil, and they sit in a clear jar next to where Philip and I keep our keys. I haven’t liked chocolate since I was six, and I’m not sure I like it now.

There’s a one-legged man who walks down Lambert every morning at 7 am. I see him on my way to work. He has a billowy white beard and looks ever so much like a sailor. He uses crutches.

Rubber bands are invading. I find them on our front porch. I find them beside our trash cans. I find them on the bedroom floor, and I find them in the dryer. They are always in the dryer.

One of the math teachers at Heights Christian Junior High has taken a temporary leave of absences, and the remaining math teachers have taken up his classes while he’s gone. We are all over our heads. Perhaps this is why I’ve taken to eating chocolate balls.

My birthday this year was the best I think I’ve ever had. It was certainly better than those silly sixth grade slumber parties when my parents scolded me for being too loud at 12 am. One of the highlights was when one of my students presented me with a Costco-sized chocolate birthday cake with nondairy frosting. I ate several licks of the frosting. Students, teacher, and family wished me well. My brother Jacob sent me an edible bouquet of fruit. Gretchen, my mother-in-law gave me a balloon and card. My family all pitched in to get me a laptop computer. This is shocking when considering my family’s usual disregard for birthdays.

There’s a rubber band around my wrist as I write.

I have started shopping at Gigante’s. Salespersons try to solicit me in the parking lot for pimple products and oranges. The cashiers attempt to carry on conversations with me in Spanish. The Jicama is never put in the same place of the produce section. One week they have poptarts; the next week they don’t. One whole aisle is devoted to beans, and half a row to tortillas. No feta cheese, but cojita, yes. They sell bananas in 3 sizes: tiny, normal, and gigantic. The lines are often held up with people trying to get cashier checks or using food stamps. But I believe it’s better than the Super Bueno Market on Lambert.

Typewriters are the devil. I don’t know why Parkville Insurance still uses one. I don’t know why I don’t just figure out how to do 1099’s on the computer instead of the typewriter. The machine goes bonkers every time I return and when I push caps-lock I have to push shift to uncaps-lock. I dream of throwing that contraption over a balcony.

My students have been unusually cooperative lately. They listen when I talk. They pass in their papers when I ask. They tell each other to shut up. They compete to do better. They understand my rules, and don’t take it personally when I tell them to go out of the room and come in again quietly.

I have made a keen connection. More than once Philip has told me how he and his coworkers shoot rubber bands at one another for momentary office stress relief. He has even taught me the proper way to shoot a rubber band. He is particularly impressed with the three-inch wide rubber bands. I haven’t found any of those in the dryer yet.