written/non-written things by me (from 2005-2008)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Popping the Skin, Glue Hands, Toward Entropy: Amusing Oneself on a Shoe-String

High, I started and maintained it through the weekend, but alas the week began in a quiet, uncomfortable desperation. Something was sitting in my stomach, and inviting friends. The weather has turned damp and mild, which is welcomed, but… well, there are no complaints. I prefer the grey cool to any of the prior suffocating humidity that kept me indoors bored and restless in front of the air conditioner. I can now again ride my bike to school without walking into class with sweat rolling down my temples. Without subsequently interrupting my own lesson to take swigs from a liter of ice water, (which, it seems, is some kind of miniature spectacle because my students say “Whoaaa!” every time I take a drink ).

The end of the month has come and I am living on the equivalent of $4 US dollars until payday next Friday. Which is sufficient but certainly not enough to be confidant about my purchasing decisions, (I.e. baozi for lunch or bus ride home?). Consider that: I am saving bus rides for ‘special’ occasions (like it’s pissing rain). I am also soaking in all the free internet entertainment I can get. On my downloading list are random episodes of the mediocre British TV show, This is Alan Partridge, the HBO comedy Curb your Enthusiasm, PDF e-books of author Phillip K Dick in particular “Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said” “A Man Whose Teeth were all Exactly Alike” and “We Can Build You”, another PDF I don’t remember downloading but apparently did is ambiguously and portentously titled “Tips on Controlling your Symptoms.” I am afraid to open it, what if I start controlling a symptom I always liked about myself, such as being a Night Person, or being simultaneously lazy and ambitious when I need to be, or being both selectively apathetic and selectively passionate in proportional quantities.

I went running about 45 minutes ago and came home to find after taking off my shirt that my dark sunburned upper back was speckled with small glistening bubbles. I rubbed my hand over my back shoulder and they burst and sent thin spray of water onto the mirror. I then rubbed a towel over the area and the skin rolled off like glue on my hands when I was a kid and would secretly squirt glue on my hands in class so that I could spend Math or History lesson peeling it off under my desk while pretending to pay attention. Speaking of pretending to pay attention, I am the Teacher now. And now I am wise to such schemes, but I can also recall how hidden I used to feel when ever I got away with it, or whatever else I did back then. My back is hideous. I am rolling off skin in-between sentences.

My students, despite their wiggly 9 year old instinct toward entropy, are shimmering glorious children, comparatively so. They listen when I snap them to attention. They get jumpy and high-five each other when they get the right answer or when I announce they are the winners (BTW, I let the students pick their team names. Incidentally, today, it was “Italy” vs. “Building”) But despite, again, their shininess, it may never make them excited as me to hear a turn of the century prison song from the American South. Never as enthusiastic as I was, today, when I sang KTV-style to a recording of Leadbelly’s “Rock Island Line” and “Midnight Special.” I sang excitedly, but contained…teacher-ly. We were picking a song to sing at the Summer Show Case and the choice were the two above, and one other (the winner), “Nine Million Bicycles in Beijing,” It’ a lovely love song, but it’s performance will be not nearly as entertaining as seeing twenty Chinese 9 year olds singing a song about asking Governors about pardons and prison bells and sitting down to a plates full of nothing. I adore singing Leadbelly songs. They’re always in the perfect key. They’re about places that I know like Houston and Sugar land, but they make those places seem more sultry and Southern than I have ever known them. They’re sorrowful, but sassy, and I like that; but seeing Teacher in her ZONE is not even enough to get them excited about that. “Grieving, Whooping, Hollering, and A-Cryin” It’s not their fault. They had there arms outstretched on their desk with their chins digging into them by the time I had come to. It’s not their fault. I was just in for amusing myself today.

I am announcing a Contest! Guess whose photographs are on my television and I will send you a homemade postcard! All the way from China!

My name is Hannah Pierce-Carlson