27 October 2006

Why My Job Is Impossible

This is in the foyer as you enter the North Hudson Center, where I teach Basic English II and III. It was like this for approximately three weeks before somebody else noticed and fixed it.

And they wonder why they have to over-register my classes every single semester.

13 October 2006


Yesterday I had the dubious pleasure of meeting the hairiest, most enormous spider in the galaxy.

There I was in the kitchen, eating a ham sandwich (shades of Mama Cass) before heading out to teach my evening class. Not really paying much attention to anything. I'm not sure where it came from (the ceiling? one of my houseplants? the moon?) but I heard something hit the floor.

That's right, heard it hit the floor. Jonas, who has a habit of sitting near my feet when ham sandwiches are involved, took a few steps.


I looked over, expecting....I don't know. A large cat toy. A mouse. A bird. One of the other cats. T-rex. Something of substance that would freak poor Jonas out if it hit the floor and made that much noise.

And there. It. Was.

It was the size of a quarter. A big, black, hairy quarter with legs. A fast quarter. I am told that I made the girliest sound anyone's ever heard out of me before asking calmly for someone with bigger feet to come step on it, but I'm rather proud because I did not actually jump up onto the chair and go full Homer-Simpson-scream, complete with wagging tongue.

I'm usually in charge of killing spiders in my household, by default. We had a deal: I don't get near multi-pedes, and he doesn't do spiders. Hey, marriage is a compromise, right? Let me tell you. If this had been our house, I would have signed a peace treaty with the sucker and given him sovereign domain over his half of the kitchen. But I'm at my folks', so I did what any self-reliant woman would do in my situation: I hollered for my daddy.

Now, frequently I will talk to bugs while I am escorting them out of the house so they don't become a cat-snack, and when outside I respect that I am a guest in the bugs' house and act accordingly.

But if something has eight legs and its own zip code, all bets are off.

08 October 2006

Life in the EZ-Pass Lane

I am developing an ever-deepening relationship with my Honda Civic Hybrid. As the weeks pass, we spend more and more time together. Some of my friends are starting to talk. It's pretty intense, this renewed closeness. We haven't spent this much time together in almost a year, when I used to drive down the Taconic every weekday morning. But then, we were always on the go, back and forth and up and down over the hills, to work and back, running errands, visiting family. Now it's different. Sometimes we just sit, quietly, and watch the sun rise over the blocked-off express lanes of Route 78. Other mornings we sing together while I sip my coffee, waiting my turn in the Turnpike traffic. Everything matters more these mornings, even our destination.

In the afternoons it's off to the library, or--on Thursdays--a trip to the Pineys, to a sweet little idyll where the students are fresh-faced and witty and speak a language I understand. Sometimes the afternoons fill me with dread, but once my car and I set off, it disappears and we're together again, just the two of us and occasionally the Indigo Girls or Rory Block.

And then there are the evening drives home. These are more carefree, with the windows rolled down and the songs pouring out onto the highway as I contemplate whether I will grade papers before my bath, or just dive headlong into my pillow for a few brief hours of unconsciousness before I rejoin my true blue companion. It is nights like this I understand what it is like to be a dog, with my head out the window in the night air, my ears flopping in the breeze, trying to stay awake and stay between the lines but at the same time giddy with a sense of refound freedom: tomorrow I can sleep in until 6.