Thursday, June 21, 2007

Office Archaeology

Raymond Pert's Desk at Home
I wonder what it means.

At my office at school, I wrote myself a note, each word in an oval and a shaded in star by "Wash", with a list of plays under it. It looks sorta like this:



Glass Menagerie

I don't know what moleskin is. I don't know if there is such a thing as moleskin wash. Did I used to know? Did I pick some up at the store? Does moleskin wash have something to do with the plays I listed below?

I write myself these notes on rectangles of paper I cut from unused class handouts. They are scattered randomly all over my office.

Straightening up my office the other day, I felt like an archaeologist, digging through the history of my life, the artifacts being these numerous scraps of paper with notes to myself.

I know what I meant when I wrote: "Two copies of a letter of support for Connie Stahl".

Connie was a very insecure, loud, highly motivated student of mine in her forties. She'd been in a lot of trouble with the law with substance abuse. She was putting her life together, working out a difficult past, doing all she could to be a good mother to her teen age son.

But she blew it. She violated her probation. She was sentenced to return to the penitentiary. She wanted letters of support. They failed. She's locked up again; no mercy for Connie.

I was listening to the radio online. Modern English's song "I Melt for You" came on. I jotted down the band and song title.

I have many scraps with titles of movies and books students have recommended to me: "The Devil's Backbone"; Kyoko told me I should see "A Woman in the Dark"; Brooke recommended "Battle Royale" by Koushun Takami;Jeremy Hicks was excited about Daniel Boorstein's "The Creators". More recommendations. More scrap notes. I haven't read any of these books yet nor seen the film. I forgot about the notes.

Students today don't read? Don't watch serious films? My archaeological dig evidences quite differently.

Students also listen. I found a note card. Laura gave it to me in the fall. She had been recording things I said in class that she thought were funny, eccentric. She lost the long list, but she found a note card with the following things I said in WR 121:

"I've never been inside the head of a ferret."
"I am teacher, hear me roar."
"If I told you I was driving to Utah, you'd think I was a stoner."
"I am a messenger from the land of WR 121."
"Here, let me smell your courage."

Why did I say these things? To keep things moving in class? To keep my students' attention? Because I cannot constrain myself from being an idiot? I'll have to dig more....

So many more notes: lists of Iranian movie directors, notes about Juniper's back problems, an address of a student to whom I promised my Bruce Springsteen LP's, this cryptic scrawl: "I don't have time for some shit for brains", my stepson's bank account number, my stepdaughter's SS number, an oval around these words: Chaolin Soccer and Kung-Fu Hustle (more movies? books? I'll put 'em in a search engine later)...or this, why did I write this: "There's a dead possum run over by a truck on Marcola Rd and it's called OFAM"(?).

Twice I wrote this note: Mutual Assured Destruction.

I know why. I was teaching Dr. Strangelove. The movie satirizes Mutual Assured Destruction. But twice? And I know I took that note to class so I wouldn't forget.

I'm less trustful of my memory all the time. I can't put things away. If it's out of sight, it's out of mind. Both my offices, at home and school, are littered with piles of books, magazines, personal computer cords, speakers, headphones, CD's, DVD's,change jars, bills, coffee mugs, Speed Stick deodorant, Nivea skin cream, a battery recharger, auto repair receipts, Netflix envelopes, stapler, XM Radio receiver, two pencil sharpeners, floss picks, a picture of Molly and Patrick, wireless router.....

And notes, notes with phone numbers, paper grades, addresses, odd jots, all to help me remember things I don't remember why I wrote down.

Maybe the Deke remembers about the moleskin and the wash.

I sure don't.


myrtle beached whale said...

Moleskin can indeed be washed but it is prefered to dryclean.

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

Perhaps you needed a "moleskin" notebook to put all your lists in:
Or some kind of bandage: - 12k
Or you wanted a new type of technology for web design and development:

Wash - probably just means you needed to do laundry.

Carol Woolum Roberts said...

Well, I think some things run in the family. I, to, have notes all over at work, and use old reminder reports for my scratch paper. But mine end up in my "work bag" and then, when I clean it out, I often find some odd notes. But your sound much more interesting than mine.

Christy Woolum said...

Me too R.P. I think we should collect them all and make a collage! My experience with moleskin is the Dr. Scholl's stuff for your feet. Were your feet bothering you and you decided to get moleskin thingies and then wash your feet?
Did you watch Psycho this quarter. Go here for the reference to moleskin and Psycho.
Other than that I am stumped.

MarmiteToasty said...

I think the the posh hunting jackets over here that the Hambledon Hunt wear, I think the collars of those jackets are made of moleskin.....

I write snippet notes and find them everywhere.......