Saturday, February 02, 2008

Will I Ever Tell You

Teresa and I got together today to watch "Slings and Arrows" - a TV show so great that I wonder why I've never heard of it before a month ago. Granted, it's Canadian, but still! It's about a Shakespeare festival company and the craziness of, well, theater. Plus, it has this awesome theme song:

Cheer up, Hamlet
Chin up, Hamlet
Buck up, you melancholy Dane
So your uncle is at hand
Murdered Dad and married Mum
That’s really no excuse to be as glum as you’ve become
So wise up, Hamlet
Rise up, Hamlet
Buck up and sing the new refrain
Your incessant monologizing fills the castle with ennui
Your antic disposition is embarrassing to see
And by the way, you sulky brat, the answer is “TO BE”!
You’re driving poor Ophelia insane
So shut up, you rogue and peasant
Grow up, it’s most unpleasant
Cheer up, you melancholy Dane

Couple that with our usual habit of speaking in hyperbole, nonsense, and outlandish imaginings and you've got a fun afternoon.

I followed up that excitement by (gasp!) doing my taxes! I know, exciting, right? But I was eager to know if I'd be getting a refund that could help with my Thailand travel plans. The answer, it turns out, is yes! A good-sized refund, actually. So hurrah for that!

This week went fairly well. A lot of snow, which lead to some awful commuting to-and-from Dead President Junior High. Rehearsals were on the up-side. Wednesday and Thursday we ran the show's songs all in order up on the stage on our partial sets. We also got a lot of costuming business done, which gave the cast some down time to socialize and gossip and chase eacho ther all about and such. Between those things, the kiddos had much happier energy both days, and we directors all left feeling like the rehearsals were both productive and fun. So, yay!

Lest you think all is well, I'll add that one of our leads dropped out this week because her family wants to go on a cruise the week of the play; we tried rehearsing with microphones only to find that three don't work at all anymore, one broke during the rehearsal, and the chorus can't be heard at all from the stage, although they sound marvelous when they're in the audience; many of the leads perform their solos with looks that say "I'm trying desperately to remember my next line/move and ew! ew! ew! I have to touch that guy/girl now!"; and 80% of the knights and ladies look bored every second that they're not dancing. All challenges to overcome in the five weeks left before the show, right?

I have a story for you that I'd like to write about because 1) it's funny (at least to me), 2) it's very junior-high-ish, and 3) it's a bit of news I wouldn't mind recording in this (albeit public) journal of mine. However, I have been debating whether to post the story because I'm afraid certain readers of mine will have overreactions akin to my students. I shall tell you the story, but you readers (and you know who you are) are not allowed to betray any thoughts like those of my students, m'kay?

For check-in on Friday, my AVID students asked for a Valentine's-themed question, it being the first of February and all. Thus, given my unfailing (although selective) honesty with my students when it was my turn to check-in, I admitted that just the night before, I had been asked out on a date.
Squeals of delight from my students (that, I'll admit, were totally expected, which is why I didn't mind telling them - there's nothing quite as deafening or entertaining as the pure joy of a bunch of junior-high girls).
The questions came quickly: Who is he? What's his name? Do we know him? Is he cute? Where are you going? When are you going? Can we come, too? Are you in love with him? Are you going to marry him? Can we come to the wedding? OMG! Can't you just picture little Waters running all around?
I finally calmed them down around the time that they were speculating whether or not I should change my name (the consensus, by the way, was no; which I have to agree with. My last name is pretty awesome) and I answered a few of their questions (A guy; Ben; No; I don't know; I'm not telling you; next Saturday; definitely not) and declined their offers of chaperoning. They decided that if they couldn't come along, I should instead bring a video camera and film the whole event for them to see. One of my stuents, Tiffanie, also took it upon herself to announce this news to my drama class later in the day (she decided it fit under the "business" section of our class procedures), which lead to a virtual word-for-word repeat of the conversation of that morning.

There are two things I'll point out from this. One, it was a really nice affirmation of the fact that these kids really care about me. I work hard to keep myself firmly planted in the "teacher" relationship category (vs. "friend") with them, but at the same time I'm not afraid or squeamish to let slip some details about myself that I know makes me more human to them. I think they respect me more for it - it's part of the whole constantly-shifting-status game I play as my discipline plan. And it truly does work.

However, two, it is the perfect illustration of one of my frustrations with the culture that I'm living in - that it is virtually impossible to date casually. There is so much pressure for marriage that from the moment you first meet a single of the opposite sex, it's presumed that marriage is on the table. It's unspoken, but it feels like you actually have to decide not to get married, rather than deciding to do so. So, for me to approach this event with the mindset of "here's a nice fellow and the potential for a fun evening" and nothing more, I actually have to work very hard against the prevailing voices that cry "Marriage! Marriage! Marriage! Yay!" And that's a lot of pressure to put on any sort of relationship. So when I hear my kids leap from a date to planning my wedding, I worry that some of my readers who are concerned at my prolonged single-hood will make the exact same conclusions.


  1. I'm living proof that you are not the oldest living unmarried woman on the planet, so I'll say no more.

    But my suggestion for your bored Lords and Ladies is to teach them to play Status whenever they are on stage in a clump. It's not only the number one crowd enlivener; it works really well with Middle Schoolers, who are all about playing status. Give it a go if you haven't already.

  2. ...and I'm proof that neither of you are the oldest living unmarried woman on the planet.

    It's hard out here to be a pimp, but you're handling it swimmingly! :)