A Place in the Sun ~ BitterSweetLife

Saturday, April 16, 2005

A Place in the Sun

6:30 a.m., another day on the job. I rummaged through the fridge for lunch, spiked my hair into something resembling symmetry, and vanished into the dawn. I was joined in the cab of our vehicle by Lindsay, who had made her own hurried preparations before materializing in the passenger seat. A glance of mutual understanding, and we were off.

The building looked much as it always did. Students loitered by the doors, on the steps and in the hallways. Lindsay and I threaded our way to the main office with the practiced expertise of crowd-control tacticians. At Main we picked up the day’s assignments, signing and dating our forms to indicate, Yes, the new objectives had been duly received. With a nod to the ever-present secretary, we pinned on our ID badges and strode forward to re-immerse ourselves in the chaotic world outside.

Moving down the hallway, stepping around and through patches of light and students, I scanned my assignment. Not bad, not bad at all. I had taken the call with restrained optimism, but my actual duties exceeded my rosiest expectations. I squared my shoulders and proceeded to the triage point with an extra bounce in my step. Today would be a good day.

Approximately seven hours later I returned to Main, sun-burnt but in good spirits. The ever-present crowds were already thinning as I unclipped my ID badge, and passed over my completed objectives with a collected nod. The secretary smiled appreciatively: “Thank you very much.” “Not at all.” When you’re good, you’re good. What more is there to say? I turned on my heel—out the door and away, back to the unsuspecting world.


Yesterday I arrived at North KC High School, expecting a light day of subbing. The students had spent the previous four days knocking their heads against a wall called the MAP test. I knew they’d be relatively docile by Friday, and ready for a break. I couldn’t picture many teachers who wouldn’t be on the same page, and my expectations were justified. On the way to school, I projected likely options. The Incredibles? Shrek 2, maybe? Or that old fall-back, Monsters Inc.? Turns out my expectations were too moderate.

I can count on one finger the times I’ve been paid to get a tan playing kickball all day. But so it was. The results, ultimately, were disappointing: an 11-12 loss, followed by an 8-11 loss, followed by the day’s real heartbreaker, in which my class went up 12-8 before losing 12-13. I contributed line drives, a long-ball and some stellar defensive play, all in a losing cause. The students, those who played, were equally committed, but defensive errors ultimately undermined our enthusiasm. Sigh.

Of course, in evaluating the day as a whole, the W-L column is a mere technicality. No one can say the life of a sub doesn’t have its moments. If only Lindsay could have gotten in on it, the day would have been a complete success. Then again, she’s not exactly a kick-ball buff… But chances are that she too, at some point, will get her day in the sun. The key is to hang in there until it arrives. Like a pension program for subs, you know. Who says we don't get benefits?

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Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife