Will's Coffee House

John Dryden, Dramatist, Critic, Poet Laureate, and my ancestor, frequented a coffee house called Will's almost daily, where he would hold forth on sundry subjects with great wit and aplomb. Same deal here, only without the wit or aplomb.

Location: Large Midwestern City, Midwestern State, United States

I am a stranger in a sane land...

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Parabolic Life

My life is, as the heading implies, a bit of a apex-oriented curve these days. (Yes, I suck at math, but I'm good at physics, so it balances out a bit.) Here's how it works: I teach Freshamn Composition at 8:00 (a class that no one wants to be in, at an hour no one wants to be awake at), then Shakespeare at 11:00 (a class that everyone wants to be in, at an hour that's quite respectable, even for college students), then a second section of Freshman Composition at 2:00 (again, no one wants to be there, and the hour is late enough so that they're beginning to feel resentful for still having to be on-campus.) So here's how the day breaks down, endothermically:

The day begins at zero. Literally. No one is awake, no one is happy, no one wants to talk. This includes yours truly. Yet such is our cross to bear, as we trudgingly haul them up the road to Golgotha. (Side note--you know, after that walk, do you think that maybe Jesus was just a trifle relieved to get to the top--I mean, I know the nails hurt and all, but after spending a weekend carrying weighty and unwieldy objects up stairs, I have to say that after about an hour, getting nailed to a tree doesn't sound too bad if it means the end of heavy lifting.) (And yes, I am going to Hell, thank you very much. See you there.) But as the hour progresses, the caffeine we've downed just prior begins to kick in, the morning sun fills us with Vitamin D, and we slowly rise from our zombie-like stupor to become engaged and energetic. The climb has begun.

The parabola reaches its apex at Shakespeare. They're stoked, I'm stoked--it's a great class and a fun time is had by all. (It helps that at the moment we're doing Titus Andronicus, about which, say what you will, you cannot say that it is boring.) So that moment is our peak--but we're so peaked, that we're a little tired when we leave.

And so the descent continues. It's not a crash, but by 2:00, we've all had lunch, and like as not it's the last class of the day and we're all 'looking forward to' the commute home--that is, looking forward to getting it the f*** over with--and while we enter awake and alert, we begin to clock-watch, and get distracted, and care less and less, and the last 15 minutes are like pulling teeth to get them stay focused and engaged. (Fortunately, I am kinetic as all hell when in front of a class, so they do so. But grudgingly.) And then we all go home and properly, blissfully crash. The parabola concludes.

I'd like to go off from here on how this is a metaphor for life, but come on, how trite would that be. No, I'm just going to look forward to Shakespeare--I'm on the climb, and don't want to harsh my buzz with gloomy thought...


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