From Scott Semple’s forthcoming Memoirs of a Life-Long Learner published by Loneliest Number Press some day in the far off future.
One of the benefits of teaching, (some may say the ONLY benefit), is periodic time off throughout the year. Having just spent a wonderful week away from students with my family I am not quite ready to return, but as the afternoon football game ticks away the inevitability of walking back into the classroom tomorrow is very real. And as a teacher and a life-long learner I want to take stock of what I’ve learned this week.
I’ve learned that I still don’t like to get shots. A flu shot is pretty painless, but it still sucks. I also learned that my daughter is a bit tougher than I am. My eyes were watering as we left the pharmacy/clinic, hers were not.
I’ve learned that the future of medicine is the pharmacy/clinic. Why go to a doctor when everything is available in an anonymous setting? I saw an over-the-counter HIV test for crying out loud!
I’ve learned that with record amounts of rain our backyard is a veritable breeding ground for the very aggressive mosquitoes that call Arizona home.
I’ve learned that I am extremely susceptible to mosquito bites, which means I will learn in coming months that I have West Nile virus or malaria or scabies or something. Good thing I know where the nearest pharmacy/clinic is located.
I’ve learned that taking the train downtown is fun, unless you don’t have any other options, then it’s just something you have to do to survive.
I’ve learned that taking the train downtown is an excellent education in how very fortunate I am in my life. It is also an education in teaching my own children about the myriad varieties of human existence. “Yes honey, that man does have face tattoos and his bugged-out eyes do look a wee bit crazy, but he’s reading the Bible.” “No, sweetie, that is not dog poop on the sidewalk.”
I’ve learned that the penalty for sleeping on the train without actually paying for your seat is that the transit cop will quietly ask you to get off the train, which means you may stumble into the sunshine with all your earthly belongings in a plastic bag and blink at the station signage to figure out where you are. Which, if you think about it, is a whimsical way to spend your days.
I’ve learned that we spend too much time worrying about where we’re going. Maybe we should just consider where we are more often than not.
I’ve learned that an olive tree is basically the worst tree possible to plant in your backyard. No, it was not planted by us, we inherited it. Yes, it produces large amounts of olives. I mean a lot! Want some?
I’ve learned that my children are really good at picking up olives, now if we could teach them to pick up their rooms.
I’ve learned that it is possible to use the Internet for good and that in seconds you can learn how to replace a pull switch for a ceiling fan. It is a simple job that requires few tools and actually goes as planned with no surprises.
I’ve learned that you can only do so much around the house before it feels like you are spinning your wheels, which means I am ready to go back to work. And that is unfortunate because my internal clock just got reset this morning, which means getting up tomorrow will suck worse than that flu shot I got the other day.
I’ve learned that nine days go by quickly when you are not required to be anywhere on a regular basis.
I’ve learned that complaining about not working earns very little sympathy.
Clearly, I’ve got more to learn.