***In my defense, I was vile all day long. “Department Chair,” you made the blog but some of this may have been enhanced for what little humor there is.
I am disgusting.
On any given day, I can easily be the foulest thing in the room. Sometimes it stems from humor and sometimes from angry frustration, but my commentary tends to go to the next level of inappropriateness. I can blend the word “fuck” repeatedly into a sentence as easily as breathing. I am constantly seconds away from being R-rated all the time. (I am aware of this because I have a student who is obsessively concerned with the rating on EVERYTHING.) It wouldn’t be a department meeting if I didn’t swear about something or at someone. C’mon, being inside public education is frustrating.
However, today’s meeting sent me into a spiral of physical foulness and misery. Last night I felt fine. I had high hopes for today. Yes, it’s a daylong meeting, but that equals yoga pants and no students. It also meant that I could get breakfast and coffee at Tim Horton’s instead of my usual peanut butter and toast combo. I would leave the meeting, deliver food to a friend’s home, then head for the gym since I spent the day dressed to go there. Unfortunately, I am highly allergic to professional development and Ohio’s Common Core standards.
I awoke stuffy and sniffly. A hot shower and an Aleve-D later and I was on my way. Arriving first from my school, I staked out a table for our department and happily went about enjoying the fatty goodness of a purchased breakfast and coffee. Slight nose drippage but no biggie. Anticipation is the best part of Aleve-D. There is that magic moment an hour or two in, when suddenly the world is prettier, more tolerable and there isn’t copious amounts of snot gushing out of my face. All would be well.
All was not well. An hour into the day and a presentation on education double speak called standards later, I was thankful that I had thrown a box (a box, not a packet or wad, but a box) of Kleenex in my bag. I was a fountain of mucus. My pockets were damp with the accumulating soaked tissues. Additionally, I could do no secret under the table grading because my right hand was being utilized to hold part of my skull and eye socket in place. I probably looked like the most attentive but angry person in the room because I did not have the power to do anything but stare, honk into my Kleenex and try to breath. So far the discussion amongst the people around had been whether it was allergies or if I was actually diseased.
And then the sneezing set in.
Oh, the sneezing. Loud, voluminous, incredibly moist. The kind of sneeze where you know that you must strategically look up from it and away because there is a high likelihood of a string of snot that may be displeasing to those around you. Whereas the nose blowing had prompted smirks, the sneezing started the rounds of, “Are you okay?” No, I’m not fucking okay! I just sneezed a good deal of brain tissue into my elbow (always use the vampire sneeze) and coincidentally onto my neighbor’s travel mug. Oops. And… I may have peed my pants. These types of sneezes are always huge and rapid fire repeats, eventually I lose control of my very being and piddle just a little bit. My apologies to whoever sits in that chair tomorrow; I officially marked it as mine.
By lunchtime it was clear that the Aleve-D happy hour was not coming…ever. I ate, but this only seemed to add nausea to the nose blowing, stabbing in my brain, peeing and sneezing post-lunch activities. The afternoon moved in slow motion. The bed shaped light at the end of my personal urine and snot soaked tunnel was forever away.
Those around me, valiantly moved forward discussing curriculum standards even though I had managed to infect at least two, possibly three of them. My department chair continued to read each standard to us. My aching brain could not fathom the wording;”introduce precise knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim (s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims however if the claimee has made prior claims and the tree did not fall on a structure as described in section 8 as belonging to the claimee then we’re all screwed and you will never meet any standard.”
Convention of Standard English: a. “Apply the understanding that usage is a matter of convention, can change over time, and is sometimes contested”
Dept. Chair: “This is gay.”
Me: “Whhhaaaaa? Totally, but..”
Dept. Chair:”No, example of usage changes.”
It is possible at this point that the Aleve-D had kicked in somewhat. My department chair was beginning to look and sound like a far away bobble-head that would not shut up. It was like I was sitting next to Charlie Brown’s teacher: “Wah wah wah wahwah waaaah.” Everybody else was nodding wisely at his words, while I was inwardly debating whether vomiting directly on him or rushing to the enormous trashcan would be a more effective way to exit this Hell.
Dept. Chair: “Wahh wah wah nuances wahhh in context wah connotation wah wah wah denotations.”
Everyone nods and stares, trying to voice some example of connotations and denotation.
Dept. Chair: “Weeellllll……”
Me: “Multiple meanings, depending on context, connotation: what I think of all of you right now.”
Professionally developed right here, people!
To wrap the whole day up, one of the people in charge told me that it was really great to see me then called me by another teacher’s name entirely (she’s not even in the English department). So sorry to her as she may be blamed for everything g I did and said today.