Saturday, July 31, 2004

Karmic Nightmare

I need a good rant.

I spent the whole week at CSU with a bunch of teachers and artists. The course itself was interesting enough, focusing on integrating the arts into the academic curriculum.
Hey, I'm all about that. In fact, it's my claim to fame.

But the people!!
Most of them taught in the suburbs, and hardly any were high school teachers.
For five long days, I looked for a soulmate in sarcasm, a cohort in contention, a partner in puerile antics. All I could find was a bevy of bobble-heads.
Hour after hour I scanned the room for the rolling eye, the sneer, the smirk. Alas, I was a misfit amongst the hand raisers and notetakers. These were the teachers pets who became teachers, and I felt like the feral cat who somehow wandered in.

Monday's lunch secured my reputation as an anomaly in this educational equivalent to Stepford. Several teachers at my table were discussing content similarities in math and music, when one woman, (thin lips, horn-rimmed glasses and hair in a bun..REALLY) shared that, as a student, she would do extra math problems, beyond her homework assignments.
My first reaction, of course, was to blurt out, "Why would you admit to such a thing in public?"
With a stare that was meant to shut me up, she snipped,
" I always loved algebra."
To which I carelessly replied,
" I've always hated algebra. Who ever came up with the lame idea of mixing up numbers and letters anyway? Leave the alphabet to the writers."
Nobody laughed.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. One hundred people, nodding, writing, following directions.

I took lots of bathroom breaks and wandered the halls.
Dejavu...I smiled. Some things never change. Perhaps to complete the picture this week, I should take up smoking and find a cute guy to make-out with in the stairwell.

Finally, it was Friday.

Before I continue my story I need make an important distinction.
I am a proponent of the arts. I am a visual artist.
I am NOT a musician. I am NOT a dancer. I canNOT sing. I canNOT play an instument. I have NO desire to do any of these things. These activities are NOT fun for me.

So what was our culminating group activity? We had to count off, form groups, learn a song, make up a dance (which incorporated the use of silky scarves) to go with the song, which we would then perform in the lobby of the building, after parading, and singing, down the hallway.
It was a custom karmic nightmare designed just for me. If I didn't need the credit hours I would have been outta there.
The final performance could only be described as surreal (No, I take that back...it could be described as ridiculous) There was a whole lot of very serious sashaying going on. These folks were into it.
Balding men and middle-aged women prancing, singing, and waving their scarves. I couldn't take it anymore. I started to laugh...out loud.
My levity rated me the bad-eye from about thirty different directions...then...lo...I spotted her. At last, a bad-attitude buddy!
Across the room, I saw Kristen, a visual arts teacher from Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Cleveland...in full frontal grimace, shaking her head, dropping her scarf, bungling her steps, and... laughing out loud.





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