Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What I'll Miss Most about Substitute Teaching

June, the month of summer solstice (the longest day of the year) also marks the end of the longest year of my life as a substitute teacher in Los Angeles. The days were long, my nerves short, but I made it through. Yea! Summer break! I've compiled a list of the things I'll miss most:
- kids erasing half of the second "o" in my name so it reads Ms. Cock
- having to get a key to use the restroom
- bells
- Hot Cheetohs wrappers all over the floor
- rolls where all the names end in "awn" - DeShawn, Keishawn, Tyquawn, etc...
- students trying to guess my age
I was listening to NPR my last morning of school and learned that there are 80,000 lawn mowing accidents every year. One girl had sadly lost her arm.
I randomly decided to share this interesting fact with my highschool students (I was in a talkative mood) who in turn looked at me wondering why I had bothered to share this "useless" information. In an attempt to save face I fumbled for applicability and said, "So if you don't finish highschool you'll probably end up mowing lawns and losing your limbs. Therefore, graduate."
I'm glad I could end the year on an inspiring note.
Goodbye til next year!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

A Flower Has Fallen From the Garden of My Heart...

Indeed it has! This is one of the central metaphors for love repeated in the opera Luisa Fernanda and I declare it again acknowledging that I have fallen in love with opera. Or maybe it's just Placido Domingo. Along with his voice, the boots and belt did it for me. There was something so manly and conquistador-like about them. He's also got a pretty good head of hair and man can the man charm women. At one point he sang in his powerful, flowing tone that Luisa was the queen of his land and his home and that the shepherd boys would play the bagpipes for her. Does it get any better than that? Where do I sign up?
Apparently the woman in front of me thought the same thing as she kept interrupting the dreamy, romantic haze that had settled over the balcony area with her incessant clapping - in all the wrong places too. She'd raise her hands high above her head and shout "bravo" in her twangy, guttural hollers. The guy sitting across the next row from her looked like he could have been her date. He had on this white-frayed jacket with elbow patches (cowboy boots stenciled across them) and a maroon shirt unbuttoned enough for his thick chest hair to creep over the side. Nice. Come on people! We're at the opera. Even a beatnik like me knows better. I wore heels.
Despite the misfits on Row D, the illusion of surreal love persisted from stage to audience and all I can say is opera's pretty cool. Even though it's extremely romanticized and melodramatic to a fault, it seems to be okay with everyone. I don't know if it's because they're singing in a different language or because they're singing as if their life depended on it (and it usually tragically does) but it just works. We buy it, we believe it, we love it!
Atleast I do.