A QUESTION OF LANGUAGE
My college students read an essay by Gloria Naylor entitled, “A Question of Language,” and I have several things to comment about this experience.
The first is that hooray for me, I actually got my college students reading! Last semester I could have dropped my class into a pot of boiling water and said “READ THIS OR DIE!” and they would’ve just stared at me as though I were a dancing monkey.
This semester, however, my students, God bless ‘em, have opted to read at least enough of the essays to 1)fool me into bragging about them and 2)have discussions worthy of a Jerry Springer show.
A couple of weeks ago we discussed Paul Theroux’s “The Male Myth,” and there was yelling and hurled insults of gayness and all sorts of things, but no direct threats or thrown furniture.
Last week, thanks to Naylor talking about the power of words—particularly, the “n” word—there was almost a fistfight in my classroom.
I can’t get into details, but it was a scary moment for me. I’ve never been an authority figure in an almost-fight, and I had to suppress my impulse to run away and/or watch in terror as someone’s glasses get punched off their face and land in my lap (hello, middle school bus ride). But the good news is no punches were thrown and everyone survived, albeit by the end of the day I had no patience for my high school freshmen and wrote mean things about them during our in-class writing exercise.
(Sorry, 7th period)
Every time I drive at night, I’m convinced my lights are not turned on. I have to check and recheck throughout the drive to make sure they are. This is likely because I’m reminded of the last time I drove my Prius in winter (granted, a winter in New England and a winter in New Mexico aren’t exactly reminiscent of each other, especially with the current temperature reaching highs of 70 degrees every few days,). In New England, I was somehow forgetting to turn my lights on at night.
It had already happened a couple of times, while driving from Lebanon to Hanover, but the WORST was when I was driving around Hanover, la la la, “hmm the road looks dark” oblivious. When I pulled over to the side of the road at my destination, mind you, having driven for more than a quick spin around the block, a car drove by me super slowly, low-rider creepy style, and a man started yelling out of his open window in an agitated manner. It took me a minute to register that he was shouting, “YOUR LIGHTS ARE TURNED OFF!” To make me look like an even bigger idiot, I had just gotten a phone call, so while he’s trying to be a good Samaritan and tell the poor, woman driver she’s a road hazard, I’m gabbing away on a cell phone giving him perplexed, who-is-this-creep-yelling-at-me stares. So yes, I was THAT person.
Now I compulsively check to make sure my lights are on.
THE YEAR OF THE SNAKE
In the Chinese calendar, the year of the snake has officially begun. I am a tiger sign, and my horoscope says the best I can hope for is one or two months of “okay.” Sorry, Jenny, but you won’t be seeing good fortune again until 2014.
“Bide your time!” “Don’t make big changes or big plans!” “A year of learning and patience!”
I’m surprised it didn’t flat out say, “Try not to kill yourself!”
Given the 1.5 months I’ve already had, I trust in this prediction completely (please don’t give me “luck is the gift you give yourself” or some stupid cheerful phrase. I prefer to blame the snakes.) What’s interesting is—here’s something similar to a Ketut moment of enlightenment: I’ll tell you a whole bunch of vague things and one truth!—I was looking at past Chinese calendar years, and my best year, 2010, was *dun dun dun* THE YEAR OF THE TIGER. What up. I can’t make this stuff up.
If you still don’t believe me, I went snooping through the Zodiac calendar, too, for kicks, and it said much the same thing: “This year does not look good for you, but expect a vacation around June or July.”
I’ll be darned if that prediction don’t come true, y’all.