Monday, March 8, 2010

Three Beautiful Things 03/07/10: Illness and Time and Learning and Teaching, Alien at Trader Joe's, Carl's Jr. Cures All

1. I dove into my students' ENG 106 papers. Today was the first day in a few weeks that I felt strong enough to grade papers and so I'm now on the trail toward getting caught up. Holding on to papers this long definitely stirs guilt in me, but I have been determined not to over exert myself, not risk having this ailment I've been fighting turn into pneumonia. Have I written the following a thousand times? To me, the most insidious barrier to good learning is the clock and calendar. My life recently has been on an illness clock, an illness calendar and the academic clock and calendar cannot accommodate time when it's measured by illness. This is true for students as well as instructors. My chief frustration with my work as a part of institutional learning is the calendar and the clock. The institution is bound these ways of measuring time, as if learning fits within them and as if life for students and instructors and staff goes merrily along without illness, surgery, divorce, or other complications. But, I'll get the papers back to my students. We'll just never get that lost time back.

2. I find many of Trader Joe's products tasty and convenient, so I shop there, but I feel really out of place, out of my element in that store. I enjoy shopping in TJ's with a hoodie on, the hood pulled tight around my face, making every effort I can to avoid looking at people and to be invisible. (However, if Kelly's working, I love seeing her and every once in a while I run into a friend.) Mostly, though, I feel like a mule in a pasture of sleek, expensive horses.

3. I shook off my Trader Joe's experience by having a bite to eat at Carl's Jr. and about half way through my Famous Star with Cheese, just after I'd washed down a bite with some Dr. Pepper, I looked at my half-eaten burger and said to myself: "Hmm. That really tastes good to me." And it did. I realized I wasn't just scarfing the fast food fast. I enjoyed that burger. It hit the spot. And it was ordinary. It inspired me to think, again, about how much I enjoy 7-11 coffee. And how Jeff recommended I try the doughnuts and coffee at Dari-Mart. And I will.

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