Thursday, February 2, 2012

Womb for Whining

I'm standing in the bathroom of the Mothership.



This administrative heart of our school district features water-free urinals, part of their many million dollar renovation done in an year when finances were so tight that staff positions stood vacant and students left unserved.


While I pee into the egg-like receptacle, I can hear the sound of water flowing continuously.


Some administrator, perhaps the Superintendent himself, has left the faucet running, full blast.


Is that a metaphor for our schools?


Buying high tech, water free urinals, but leaving the old-fashioned analog faucet turned on, letting it dump, letting it waste?


Nah.


It's just something that happened to me while I was stuck here taking the yearly required class on how to beat up people with Down Syndrome.


Forty educators whirl about the room in waltzes of awkward punches and kicks.


There is so much giggling, you would think that they pump nitrous through the vents, or that everyone just got done finding a surprise book of coupons taped beneath their seats.


The class is Nonviolent Crisis Gurby Jargon Phrff or something, and it is supposed to teach you how to deal with, and in worst cases, physically manage, a student who is acting out.


Years ago, when I first took the class, I thought we were going to learn cool moves.


Instead we got to do this:



In the more enlightened year of 2012, you can no longer do the front punch block.

Students might injure their fists when they punch your block.


To break a choke, you do double dream hands and gracefully spin away.

"One spin only," the instructor gravely warns, "we've had people hurt themselves in this class because they've spun twice."

Later they tell us to never pick up a student who flops to the floor.

"We had a student sit down on us during a fire drill and we picked him up. Was that a mistake?" someone earnestly asks.

"Yes", says the instructor.

Someone else blurts out, obviously concerned, "What if it's a real fire??!?"

Gee, I guess you let the little guy burn. 

I guess you live your life letting rules override common sense. You must be a special education teacher.


The class goes on for hours, and you feel yourself rising out of your body and soaring up, hovering over the room.


From this vantage point, you see how often people are nodding their heads while the instructors speak.


So much damn nodding of heads; in consent, in support, in agreement.


A room full of pear-shaped bobbleheads reassuring each other that yes, yes, that is the proper way to run from a kicking child.


Even as a free-floating full torso apparition, the training session is awfully boring, and you decide to move along.


You long to shoot up from the surface of the world like a rocket, like a mouse wheel quickly zooming out on Google Earth if you have a good internet connection.


Our internet is really terrible, though.


When you zoom out on Google Earth, it dissolves into a hundred white squares that say "Loading".


Eventually one blue square of the Pacific pops up.


You squee and clap your hands like a child because you're seeing the ocean for the first time.


My out of body experience cannot pay attention long enough to see the Google Earth tangent to its profound conclusion.


Instead it rockets back to the ground to matters more personal, more intimate.


It propels itself directly into the floating mush of my wife's womb.


A quiet, rythmic beat fills my ear, disrupted only by the occasional burble of indigestion. 






I sighed.


My child was very perceptive for being unborn.




Its just...its just...


I'm an introverted, selfish person, OK?


My brain is my cave, the place I crawl to when I am done having to talk to the world around me.


And when I got married, I made the decision to give up some of that brain and share it with someone else.


That was hard, it still is hard.


But then one baby comes, and they are not content with a compromise between me-time, and us-time, and your idea of us-time kind of sucks-time.


Those fat pasty balls of spit and meconium take lots and lots of brain.


They take it and they never give it back.


The next baby arrives, insisting he get the same amount of brain you gave to the first kid.


You start to feel impossibly thin; there is no interior space in your brain left for only you. The outside world stands abruptly up against the inside one you have cultivated and kept to yourself for so long, with only the thinnest of membranes between.





I can feel my physical body tugging at me to come home.







I'm plucked from the womb and planted right back into my meeting, just in time.......

....for my favorite yearly joke.

53 comments:

  1. I worked as a 911 dispatcher and totally understand the concept of making sure protocol is followed even if you know it is not the right thing to do. It doesn't matter whose life is in danger or what terror is about to happen, make sure you follow the rules that have to get rewritten every three months because they are faulty.

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    1. Woah, that sounds way worse than what I was thinking of. Yikes.

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  2. I picture your unborn child talking like Scarface.

    Oh yeah, and you're bald!

    I like you.

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  3. great post. I totally get how your mind wanders and off you go.......

    best,
    MOV

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    Replies
    1. Thanks MOV, I forgot to put in my Outsider award!
      The reason I write......hmmmm
      I think to get a laugh mostly, out of me or out of others

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    2. Good answer, Gweenbrick. We all like laughs, they're better than tears. Unless it's tears of joy (from all the laughter), then I guess in that case laughs are equal to tears, except for with girls it makes our mascara run. Which wouldn't be so bad, unless your favorite department store discontinues your one brand of mascara, your go-to brand, and then, you're like, totally screwed. But Gweenbrick, you're not a girl, nor a mom, nor a cross-dressing Nathan Lane in Birdcage impersonator, so the mascara thing is a non-issue.

      And you are welcome for the (coveted) MOV Award! You deserve it! I fully expect to see the “Outsider” tattoo in a future post ...

      xxo
      MOV

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  4. Agreed. Infants are brain-sucks. Like wee little vacuums.

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  5. Not a big fan of the waterless toilet. LOVE, lovelovelove the bucket of ice urinal though. Ahhh, the finer things in life.

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  6. I read this with incessant child babble in the background, berating me for accidentally teaching him the term "jackoff(noun)" yesterday. I understand the whole "When is it time for me?!?" issue. I stay up until 5:00AM, hoping the old brain waves will calm the f down and shut up by then. It's not all that helpful, I must say. I *think* the key is, find something for yourself that doesn't feel like a chore. If you don't feel funny, write something else, and either don't hit post or post it elsewhere. No more brain flinging!! (Even though it was terribly amusing to see.)

    Also, self "defense" classes for those situations are so silly. I got my ass beat by a 15 year old with Down's to the point of having to call 911 to make him stop cuz I was alone and absolutely refused to do an "illegal" defense move and he had grabbed a knife. The kid swung at a cop, so we had to go to the ER, where they made me speak to a therapist of some sort. He let me leave when I sobbed hysterically, "I just got my ass kicked by a short kid with Down's!!! All I wanted to doooo was kick the fat fuck in the balls and be done with it, but I wasn't alllooooowwwwweeeddd." :)) I'm pretty sure one swift kick would've been a lesson retained longer than "Stop!!"

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    1. Wow, that is quite a tale. I am very, very fortunate to have only been minimally injured by students. I know many people with similar experiences to yours; it can really get ugly.

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  7. Um, your baby has a mustache? I also detected a bit of a walrus-ness, but I think that part is normal. Earlier today I was missing you and decided to calculate when your next post would arrive based on the frequency of the previous month (7 in January) and then got scared that you were late, oh no, I thought, and I hoped you were okay. I never realized you were in utero, that eXplains the delay. I am just happy you are okay, well, your level of okay-ness. I must resume housework now, wish me luck ...

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    1. On my next pass through your post (dishes are now being robotically sanitized) I noticed the similarity between the urinal of the future and the Gweenbrick Jr, the shape, the color, and then I noticed that the urinal appears to have a moustache also. So perhaps your dream state was induced by the equipment from the future.

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    2. I didn't catch the walrussness at first, but I can definitely see it. I think you would be hard pressed to find any pattern to my posting, but I do get more done on them on Mondays and Wednesdays for some reason.

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  8. Too many great moments, surreal moments, heartwarming moments, hug warming moments, to pick out from just one post...so I won't.


    Suffice to say, great post as usual. (And stop being so hard on yourself)

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    1. I'm so glad you liked it, Lily! Doesn't it just make you want to have another one? DOESN'T IT?

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  9. Haha don't you love those types of jokes, like asking the tall person what the weather is like up there? (Okay, I've done that. I admit it).

    Also google earth: CURSE YOU, slow loading screen.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, those jokes never cease to always be hilarious.

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  10. This is kind of sweet, although I am wondering why your baby is speaking spanish ?

    But don't worry, we don't give up our brains when we make babies, we actually reproduce another brain that will likely have similar traits to our own.

    Yeah...um.... don't spose that makes you feel better.

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    Replies
    1. I never thought of it like that....I suppose I could try and get a "group mind" thing going.

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  11. Thank you for sharing your last sliver of brain with us. I'm glad the tiny sliver you have left is the one that contains the humor.

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  12. The getting out of the hair pull one is actually pretty useful with a baby around.
    This post made me laugh a lot and cry a little and think some more. Obviously you haven't given all of your brains away.
    Cheers.

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    1. I bet it is. I am glad you liked the post!

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  13. did i spy a little stud in your unborn child's ear?

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    Replies
    1. Yep. He's trying so hard to be cool.

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    2. Maybe you can dye his hair purple.

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  14. I like your Spanish foetus. If its this deep and helpfull now, imagine the philosophical scholar it will be at birth!
    Maybe you can spice up your meetings by attending in a ninja outfit or power rangers costume, just to confuse people and look fancy.

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    1. Thanks! Spanish foetus sounds strange to me, like something vaguely gross...I like the idea of going to the meeting in costume, though

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  15. I noticed that the hole in your skull from the brain extraction healed rather quickly....Perhaps you're part Kryptonian?

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    1. Hmmmm....perhaps, but more likely part lazy drawing guy

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  16. SMAP! is not a sound you hear everyday. Also, I think you'll have plenty of brain to fling at your kid.:)

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    1. I think there was a Japanese pop band called smap. Here's hoping for brain!

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  17. Lol great post! Really funny!

    The whole system of having rules which cannot be broken under any circumstance is so absurd. As an American, it sometimes amazes me how one of the most "advanced" countries on Earth ends up appearing more backwards than our prehistoric relatives. At least they followed natural instinct and common sense. Makes you just want to scream because the whole system is so incredibly ridiculous! Ok, maybe that's going too far, maybe not the whole system - but so much of it.

    The unfortunate part is that the new generation growing up with these rules know no other way of life - and so tend to be brainwashed in a big way. With no logic and no application of their higher facilities it's impossible to even debate the issues with them.

    Lol sorry, maybe I've expressed my opinion a little too loudly with this - but your post set me off! I really did enjoy it though... had a great laugh!

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    1. Whoah whoah, slow down there, big spender.
      I agree with you though, I think all adherence to regulation should be tempered with common sense. Which is a sentence I really wanted to write right now because it made me feel smart.

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  18. This is extra funny to me because my one year old actually speaks Spanish and I don't. She runs around saying "Ay yi yi" and "Dulcé! Dulcé!"

    I really like how you're getting more and more conceptual. You're basically becoming the Faulkner of blogging.

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    1. I would say, Miss Mandy, that I am more the Benjy of blogging-WHAT? WHAT? SOUND AND THE FURY ANYONE???HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH CLASS REPRESENT!
      But you are very nice with your compliments.
      On an unrelated note, my wife thinks it is excruciatingly uncomfortable when I try to talk 'hip' as in the above capitalized sentences, so i was curious to see if it is just as painful typed out.
      Yes, yes I believe it is.

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  19. Lovely, you've got it right, the brain thing especially.

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  20. Why are you so epic?
    Been reading your blog from the past one year and I don't think I've ever seen a more cooler teacher than you- special ed or not.
    Stay happy, from the looks of it, your baby is gonna be a multilingual coolster.
    Much laughter to you :)
    PS- Your self portraits resemble my dad. He's also bald and cute \m/

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    1. Thanks for reading Remya!
      I am glad I look like your dad, but I have never thought of my self-portrait as 'cute'..more like 'buttery'.
      I am actually a teacher's aide, which is why I always complain about being broke

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  21. Good heavens. Flippin' fantastic. I am hopeful that the 2 other brains we created (i.e., our sons) will once day be able to care for our addled brains. At least I hope they put us in a nice rest home.

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  22. You are not the first person to feel awkward around an unborn baby. As a child, I passed by a tiny room at a Kaiser Permanente in which a woman was reciving her first ultrasound. I peeked in and threw up.

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  23. haha.. don't worry your blog is not sheety at all. it's actually kinda cool.

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  24. This was really touching. I enjoy reading your self-therapy. I'm confused by the chicano baby. Is your wife eating a lot of churros or something?

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  25. Is the baby flashing gang signs?! I want THAT on a t shirt!

    Random side note - my husband always knows when I'm reading your blog. Apparently, it evokes a certain sort of laughter, otherwise not heard in our household... You are the best.

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  26. I had a good friend from childhood who does what you do. We stayed in touch regularly until the day, in an unrelated context, I let the word 'retard' slip out. Somehow after that we drifted apart.

    Luckily you've revealed too many personal details about your career and now I can subconsciously appoint you as unofficial proxy.

    Thanks for being there but not really.

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  27. OMG! This post was hilarious! And your blog isnt sheety, stop it. STOP. Also, SMAP is a lovely sound.

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