11 December 2008

Quand Sera-ce Fini?

Nothing let up today. The rain, for one thing. But also the incessant demands, some of them rational, others capricious, imperious and puerile at the same time. It's as if everyone in the world suddenly realizes the semester is about to end and wants you to save their rear ends. I'm not talking only about students: If anything, I've probably had fewer procrastinators this semester in spite of the fact that I've been teaching many more students. I'm talking about some faculty members and administrators who tell you that they have a deadline for something or another and want you to help them make it.

And then there are all the papers I have to read. Just when I think I've made a dent in the pile of papers, I turn around, and when I turn back, there are even more papers than there were before I started reading. In a perverse way, I feel like I'm enacting the Sorcerer's Apprentice scene from Fantasia: the one where the brooms multiply.

As much as I love writing and literature, I tell people that if they want to teach, they should do Phys Ed classes. I mean, what does a gym teacher bring home with him or her? And how much preparation does it take to lead a class in calisthentics or a game? One of my high-school gym teachers was an alcoholic who just let people do what they wanted: a fine thing to do with a bunch of boys who are geysers of hormones.

So I have scarcely seen daylight, much less sunlight, for the past two weeks or so. And I have been no other places but the college and my apartment, where I seem only to read papers or sleep when I can. I'm getting old and fat and I'm always tired.

I know this will let up in a couple of weeks. But, really, when you have no contact with anything else but whatever you have to do in the moment, that moment seems like forever. I feel the way that Theresa must have felt when she wrote, "Sometimes I think the rain will never end." Imagine that, from an eleven-year-old kid. Then again, she came from one of those homes where life was nothing but the present: an extended version of the present moment. I realize now that lots of people live that way, some by choice, others (like Theresa) because they don't have any other choice and still more who probably just don't know any other way.

Yes, I know the rain will end, eventually. But I want it now. That, and the surgery and whatever follows.