Tuesday, February 15, 2011

In the Gutter

Last night I had an enkai (party) for work that lasted for a few hours. If you know me at all, you know that I have a limit when it comes to sitting on the floor with nothing to lean against for an extended period of time. I hail from a chair-loving culture. The enkai was on a Monday night so there was obviously work the next day. I barely drank anything but I was super tired today from a night that varied from my normal routine.

I had a fairly good start to the day, mustering up the energy and enthusiasm to teach rowdy classes of first, second and third graders. Half of them have masks on so I cringe every time I have to shake hands with any of the plague-makers during the Hello Song. It was between four and 4:30 this afternoon that it all came to a screeching, half humorous, half mortifying head.

I was walking to the elementary school for a meeting and the sidewalks here are uneven because they are made of brick. So of course, when I am walking near two high school students and five elementary school students, I trip and fall. This wasn't a "fall on your knees" kind of graceful fall. This was a slow-mo, books go flying, sprawled out over the gutter kind of fall. I hate it when you can feel it happening and can do nothing to stop it. Resistance is futile. So I laid there for a few seconds and laughed like a crazy person. My hands were stinging from grinding into the gravel in a failed attempt to save my money-maker from hitting the pavement. The students helped me pick my books up and I continued on my way while feeling their eyes burning into my back. I just feel fortunate that nothing ripped.

Once I made it to the elementary school, I meet with teachers to go over lesson plans and prepare for the next few classes. The teachers are always a little late because they send kids on their way at the end of the school day. It's okay because I sit there and look at lesson plans or at the schedule until they come. Today, during a meeting, a teacher was trying to make small-talk with me and asked the one super insulting question that one should never ask another human being - I don't care what country or culture you are from or what language you speak. "Oh, you got your hair cut. Did you cut it yourself?" Zing. It was a completely innocent question and I know they weren't trying to be insulting but I automatically added up my great gutter fall of 2011 with the hair cut comment, counted my losses and then headed home after school for some secluded American R&R - watching Modern Family and Glee and eating tacos.

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