Today was far from an easy day. Right before getting into bed, I look at Lucy lying on the floor a short distance from the foot of my bed. She looks at me.
I look at Lucy. No words exchanged, but most of our communication is non verbal.
It’s not until I get into bed that she gets up and comes to the side of my bed. Okay, I’m ready now. Figures. Lucy likes to throw a Hail Mary and pull a Murphy on me. Figures. Still no words are spoken.
I get up and tap the bed. There’s a slight shift of weight, but paws don’t leave floor nor get on the bed. I tap again. Three times and nothing but a shuffle of Lovely Lucy weight. She really, really wants to jump, but she can’t convince her body to just do it.
And then I whisper in her ears, “You did it last night. You can do it again.” Weight moves from left from leg to right, there’s this plea in her brown eyes that ask for just a little extra help. I start to raise her upper body, and the finishes for me.
Front paws up. Hind legs firmly planted on the floor. This is when I get to do all of the work and lift her hundred pound body onto the bed.
Within a minute she’s snoring away. Loud and content.
On days where nothing seems to go right, it always goes right when I have another night with Lucy, my Lovely Labrador. I don’t know how many more we’ll have.
I shouldn’t say that the entire day was crappy. It started off on my own terms. I got to sleep late. I got to lounge in bed. I even got to lounge on the deck in the sun. I can’t even complain about the sunny drive out of Eugene, the half an hour drive wondering how things would go and would I play my cards right after all and have a fun day.
And then I take a wrong turn and my thirty minute drive extended into the late zone. I detest being late for work or for appointments, but it happens. Slow trucks. Road construction season is upon us.
I practically run to what looked like an entry way. Maybe it used to be before security required all the doors to be locked except for one. I wasn’t at the correct one, but there was an informative sign that told me to take the South Entrance. It’s after 11:30, so I have no clue which direction I was facing. I was asked that question already. There’s a door nearby and I’m thinking that for security sake, it didn’t make sense for a door so close be open, so I go to the left and peek around the building. There wasn’t one iota of information that confirmed I was going the right direction. No cars or entry way or sign of life. Just because I’m passing the doors close to my original starting point, I gave the doors a tug with a O please, but my instinct proved right and caused me to mutter a few curses under my breathe. I do hear sounds of life, so I continue my going to the right course of direction. Kids. Portable Potty. Three boys and a portable potty are a recipe for disaster. I watch as one small boy goes in the little plastic portable for only emerges will I ever go. And then I watch the other boys lunge towards it as if they were practicing football blocking skills. Has anyone ever tipped a kid over in that? I ask, drawing attention to myself. It was almost as if the kids came to attention. The thing hadn’t moved at all, but it’s possible it caused the kid to go about his business quicker than he expected.
The ugly bell that schools use to inform students that their freedom has been suspended on such a sunny day and it was time to line up and walk like sheep back into the classroom. I think there was a window in the classroom, but I don’t remember. As it turned out, if I had gone around to the left from my point of origin, I would have arrived at the Southern door quicker, but that poor lad may have jostled around with a probably stinky port-a-potty, and I can’t imagine that would have been good for his fragile psyche. Not at the middle school level.
And then that became the metaphor for my day. I was the one caught up in a plastic box as if I were a gerbil in a plastic ball, but with feces and urine and excrement and who knows what rolling around with me. Figuratively, I was rolling around in shit all day. Spoken. Sarcastic Twit-wit.
Two hours into the four-hour gig, I cancelled my future job at this school. It’s been a hard school for me, but every so often after I’ve had some wonderful energetic positive idea provoking interactions with kids, I think I can take on the world. Middlers? Oh, I got this. Just be me, my authentic easy-going self and all will be happily ever after.
Have you ever imagined standing in front of some sort of stampede. Young horses came to mind, but the more I think about it, it felt like large elephants were charging at me, and all the while hoards of flies are buzzing around. Dirt is kicking up in my face. I’m about to get pummeled. Actually, a quick flattening would have been more humane. Middlers are far from empathetic. They are more like Piranhas or sharks or both. Frenzy feast on the fallen substitute.
I was pitiful. I admit it. I begged for them to stop talking. Please, for my sanity, couldn’t you, won’t you please just stop. Just stop was my mantra. I learned Vladamir’s name and I think a girl by the name of Renee within seconds of the first class. The teacher had explained what I was doing and had wonderful lesson plans. Math. The Absolute Value. The kids had absolutely no values. and some of the off-the wall comments had my head spinning as if I were suddenly possessed.
One child, diligently with hand in the air like I had begged for them to do, said he had a comment rather than a question: Your head looks like a triangle. Okay, it was a math class, so at least he was in the right ball park, and I had been pulling my hair out of frustration. I’m surprised that I didn’t either pull my hair out or extend it a couple of inches.
I have not been this frustrated in a very long time. The room was packed; there was hardly any walking around space. Kind of reminded me of the international flight I was on last year. Maybe there was a first class upstairs, but I was definitely in for a bumpy ride.
On my way home, I bowled some of my aggravation out, but my body was tired and trampled. And at least there was still some more sunshine to be had on my deck where I could debrief and resettle my soul. I had to do something or there would be no way I would survive tomorrow’s day with more middlers, but at least this is a school that I’ve been to a few times or so and they didn’t eat me alive. They certainly won’t be a cakewalk, but different school district, different community makes a massive differences.