Monday, June 18, 2012

Tomorrow's No Burden.





My boss told me earlier that I seem dopier than usual today. He was worried about me, concerned I was unwell. I blamed not much sleep and the current moratorium I'm having on all of my supplements, in anticipation of a complete blood workup. Both of those things are true, but probably not completely the reason for me seeming a bit out of it. Missing out some of the key facts, or lying by omission, as we've taught the kids to say.

I've gotta rush this post a little bit, as there's only about twenty minutes before we all have to sit down and discuss how each kid has gone on their goal. Each week each of my students gets a goal based specifically on their behaviour. Some of them have "Do as asked," some of them have, "Handle difficult situations better," some of them have, "Answer questions honestly." At the end of each day we sit down and discuss with them if they have achieved that goal. If they have, they get a tick in their goal book. If they haven't, they get a cross. If they were somewhere in between, they get a 50/50. And, here's the clincher, if at the end of the week they have more ticks than anything else, they get to leave at 12.30 on a Friday afternoon. If they don't, they have to stay til 2.50, like a normal day.

Sometimes, particularly lippy kids will suggest that they should also be able to give the teachers goals. And we always encourage them to do so. Eventually, if they do follow through, they'll come up with pretty superficial stuff, like "Mick should tell better jokes," or "Brendan should stop dancing in class" (we do tell them that goals should be phrased in a positive manner, but sometimes that's a bridge too far for our kids, who usually struggle with language). I always wonder why they don't pull us up on more serious stuff, but I guess we're teachers, and these are kids who have been yelled at by teachers a thousand times, so they're probably still wary of the power relationship involved. If they were a little more trusting they might write about me that I should "arrive at the Unit ready to work," in response to my constant fatigue, both training related and latenight related. Or maybe even "treat the work more seriously," in response to my tendency to joke through serious situations, like important meetings, or kids whose parents are a little too messed up.

If they knew me socially, however, my current goal might be "don't be a dick." And today, sitting down in the couch area we call the airport lounge (because that's where you sit when you arrive and when you depart), they'd probably give me a cross. Man, I've burnt some fucking bridges since January. That's when I stopped riding my bike, and since then I seem to have reverted to an attitude typical of the Seinfeld generation, treating flippant things with the utmost seriousness, and treating serious things with a callous flippancy. Like Seinfeld, it's an entertaining way to live, but also like Seinfeld, when you get to the last episode, you realize that the people involved are just dicks. And that's where I'm at right now.

The worst thing about behaving in this manner is that the habit becomes a compulsion, and you end up sending the wrong message entirely, distancing yourself using flippancy and nonchalance when you should be drawing closer using honesty and passion. I should, of course, be truthful with people, tell that not being able to race my bike totally fucks me up, that I fucking miss it like a limb, that every Tuesday I go down to the track because I wish like all fucking hell that I could still do it, and if I can't, I still want to be involved somehow. And fuck it, instead of that stupid play on words, instead of answering your question with a question, I should just fucking cry.

But I don't. Because it's too heavy, and without those jokes and puns and questions, the weight could well crush me. That's ok, but when the flippant reply becomes the constant, when the protective layer of humour becomes the whole, that's a problem. And that's why I do deserve a cross. Because I'm being a dick.

2 comments:

Neil Robinson said...

you deserve a cross....bike!

nexus said...

Just be careful you don't come out at the other end as George Costanza.