The Real World?

The second semester is underway and that means I’ve been tugged back into the reality of my job from the temporary fantasy of pseudo-heaven called Winter Break. In terms of content, this means Macbeth and Frankenstein and Othello and The Tipping Point and Hamlet. Yet again.

Tricks, not treats.

Tricks, not treats.

Like the start of any new semester, I have tried to manufacture excitement or something other than sheer dread by picking up some new toys because I love toys. At the moment, I am pleased to announce that I have a small bag of smelly things from Bath and Body Works for both my car and classroom. In fact, my classroom smells of rich mahogany, alright faux-mahogany. But still. Additionally, my super-saver sometime extreme couponing wife long ago purchased some school supplies for me that I have left at home until now, knowing that I would need them come the new year. And this is supposed to combat the malaise of leaving two weeks off and 5-10 pound weight gain.

I see you.

I see you.

It’s stupid, I know, to try to trick myself into believing something that is untrue. Not to sound even more stupid, but it works because it works. Or used to work. I know myself well enough to understand that the best way to distract myself from something untenable is literal distraction. It’s totally OK that I have to grade quizzes and tests because I have new pens with which to grade them! You’re right, I’m a simpleton. Now, this usually works –  at least for a few weeks – generally long enough for me to get halfway through a quarter then say something like I’m halfway to ___________ break. Then that week or two or two months is juuuuust enough to recharge through one more quarter. But this year’s been a real struggle. I know the Matrix is telling my brain that this is what I do and what I have to do. But after 12 years, you know what I realize? I am afraid to say.

Like Sammy Jankis, I am adept at creating my own reality.

Like Sammy Jankis (or who the hell ever he was), I am adept at creating my own reality.

I don’t understand why my attitudes toward my work (and baseball, curiously) have so suddenly fallen off a cliff. But I’m aware enough to know they have. I spent the winter break mentally trying to work myself back up to better levels, but it’s difficult because I can’t unknow what I know. It’s like trying to create a false reality that’s um, quite a bit more nuanced than here, get some new pens and forget the rest. I haven’t been able to get there.

And like everything else in my life, it’s figuratively killing me because I don’t understand what it is. I am aware of it. I can see it happening, but I don’t know the source of it. I’ve been trying to figure it out, still it eludes me. But hey! New pens, though!


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