Friday, June 29, 2012

life-class is in session

 by Jean Roberta

Lessons. There are so many in life.

Lesson #1: Posting the day after Chris Garcia every week is probably not a wise plan.  :)

Lesson #2: It is not possible for an (ahem) older woman to spend hours on-line searching for evidence against student plagiarists, grade the assignments of the innocent (relatively speaking), continue trying to create order out of chaos in a house that has been majorly renovated, meet with distraught students, take care of sick pets (first a dog with an eye infection, then a cat with an irritated bladder), make the guest room ready for a guest, AND write this week's post.

Am I inspired? Am I creating memorable words? Ha.

Lesson #3: The grass is always greener on the other side.

There was a time when I lurched from one temporary paid job to the next, while raising a child and doing lots of unpaid organizational work. I envied folks like my current self: older, well-established in a respectable job (maybe even a career) with power over others, a home-owner with upper-middle-class worries (renovations & yardwork rather than the constant threat of homelessness). But the path is not smooth wherever you go.

Instead of helping aspiring student writers discover their individual voices, I have the grim duty of failing quite a few because their knowledge of English just isn't adequate for a literature-and-composition course. As far as I can see, no one benefits from this exercise. At such times, I'm ripe for conversion to the vaguely French-flavoured belief that ennui is the common condition because life has no meaning. The glass is not only half-empty, the stuff in it is an illusion. And the most profound words in one language just seem like noise to everyone outside the culture that produced the language.

I have a nasty-looking rash on one arm for no obvious reason. It wouldn't surprise me if I am allergic to something I can't avoid.

Lesson #4: the most beautiful summer weather looks like a sign of cosmic irony to one who has too much to do indoors.

I'm sure there are more lessons waiting to be learned, but they only show up clearly in retrospect. Or as a wise person once said, we always learn to avoid the mistakes we've already made.



  1. Actually, Jean, I think this is a brilliant post, full of wisdom beautifully expressed.

    "The glass is not only half-empty, the stuff in it is an illusion."

    You should have lots of opportunity to expand on this coming week!

  2. Hi Jean!

    I wish that last line were true. I keep making the same mistakes instead of avoiding them. We don;t always learn it.


  3. Thanks for your comments, Lisabet and Garce! You are always encouraging. Just after I posted my post,I worried about scaring readers away. Luckily, the weather is beautiful where I am, AND I'll have time to enjoy it this coming week, when the topic du semaine is This Pisses Me Off. Heh. I'm sure we can all think of something.

  4. Jean - I swear that I wrote a comment a couple days ago! I have no idea what happened. Anyway, I find a lot of wisdom in your post.


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