Sunday, June 13, 2010

Australia, anyone?

I'm sorry, I know it's been a while. If it's any consolation, there hasn't been much going on.

I'm currently sprawled on my bed pretending that our house is air conditioned and I'm not actually that sweaty. The windows are open, and the neighborhood kids are shrieking roughly half a block away. Does someone on this street have a pool? These are the shrieks I normally associate with ten or more adolescents fighting over noodles and scuba masks.

It's been a rough few weeks at work. I went through a two-and-a-half week drought in terms of applications, conversations, feelings of hope... everything, really. Then this past week I added two new students to my books. Unfortunately, the spike in activity didn't lead to the spike in mood that I expected. That part was actually more disappointing than the drought. I have just over two weeks left before our start, and (assuming my two students from this week start classes) I still need two more students to meet my quota. Quota. I hate how much this word has been slipping out of my mouth lately. I hate that it's crossed my mind even more frequently. Deadlines? Fine, bring them on. Evaluations? Okay, whatever. But quotas? I don't like the idea of turning my students into numbers on a spreadsheet. And I know that it's not as bad as that, but I still feel... not myself.

The true tragedy? When I was in my super emo funk and wanted nothing more than to crawl under my desk and eat Doritos all day, I decided that one thing in the world would probably cheer me up immensely. I decided to google image the last two pages of one of my childhood favorites, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. For those of you who were born before the 80's and/or sadly deprived as children, the premise is that a little boy named Alexander is having one of those epic "the world is against me" kind of days that little kids seem especially good at having. Throughout the book he claims that he's just going to move to Australia. But the last two sentences of the book are, "My mom says some days are like that. Even in Australia." And, given my recent desire to abandon ship and run away on an amazing never-ending vacation, I find myself constantly thinking about Alexander and his oh-so-wise mother. However, try google imaging the book. Good luck finding those pages. I'm going to wind up improvising, but how fitting is it that the one thing in the world I wanted as a pick-me-up was impossible to find? Maybe if I tried from Australia...


  1. Consider me your Advocate for Adventure. Seriously, the word quota should not even be in your vocabulary. What about teaching English as a second language in some exotic foreign country? They don't pay well and the housing may be basic, but it could also be a life-affirming adventure. Contrast this with a brain-killing, dead-end job (my assumption...apologies if I'm wrong.) There's also the Peace Corps and various NGOs. If you were 45 with a mortgage and 3 children, there might be a reason to stay at this job, but you aren't. They are robbing you of your youth. And if you don't have enough money to feel comfortable about going on one of these low-paying adventures, then head off to Alaska and work on a salmon boat first...serious hard work, but something that will leave you with some money in your pocket. I did a lot of adventurous things when I was your age. My only regret is that I didn't do more.

  2. i told you they were unreasonably loud.

  3. I guess the tricky thing is finding the line between "adventurous" and "flaky." I don't want a series of short-term jobs on my resume, so unless I have a really good reason (i.e.-- grad school) to leave before I've worked there for a year, I'll stick it out. And I feel almost spoiled for disliking my job so much, because I never expected to love my first post-collegiate job.

    The sad thing is, the company I work for actually has great opportunities for advancement... I just don't want to advance there.