Flashback Friday: Planning Ahead, Missing Out

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[This is a blog entry from the Girl Scout vault from early 2006. In case it seems I have an inconstant heart where Z is concerned,  he was home in Zimbabwe, not being my boyfriend.]

On any given day my lesson plans look something like this:

  • Discuss “Shrek” & intertextuality.
  • Do that bird exercise.
  • Have them write about that one article.

Right there, in a nut shell, is why I decided higher education was the place for me. If I taught in a high school, the administration would expect detailed, week-at-a-glance type lesson plans that spelled out exactly what I planned to do as well as the objective of the exercise. They want these, one assumes, so if you get hit by a garbage truck on the way to school, your class can continue without interruption.

I’ve never really wanted to be thought of as “easily replaceable,” so my lesson plans tend to be more along the lines of Post-It Notes stuck to the back of a recycled “Hello Kitty” folder. If I’m road kill, I want my students to flounder for a few weeks in memory of me.

I’m not a bad teacher–in fact, I think and annual reviews argue that I’m actually a good teacher. I know what I’m going to do. I know what the objective of the lesson is. But if I had to write it out, weeks in advance, it would no longer seem interesting or viable to me, so I’d have to think up a whole new set of things to do so I wouldn’t get bored. It’s more efficient in the long run to do Post-It Note planning on the drive to work.

Which brings me to my current dilemma.

Last week, a co-worker, poet, and friend, [that for our purposes I will now refer to as Belle, as in “the belle of Worcester, Mass” asked if I wanted to go with her to Ireland for Spring Break. She’s going to see her boyfriend. It’s a love story with a thirty-year interruption that I am particularly fond of, and Ireland has been a sort of surrogate boyfriend of mine over the last several years. In fact, the relationship is currently monogamous. Since I was just there in November for a week’s writing workshop with Hugo Hamilton, going again seems a bit extravagant. Also, I’m not sure if Belle really invited me or if I whined so much about going that she felt compelled to agree that I could tag along. Also, I’m not sure it’s ever a good idea to spend that much time with someone you are fond of but don’t know ALL that well. Also, I was raised with my mother’s axiom of “fish and company smell after three days.” So I’ve been torn. Mostly, I’ve been leaning towards doing the right thing–saving for a house I’ll never buy–and skipping the trip.

But then today another co-worker who just went to Dublin brought me a copy of Hugo Hamilton’s new memoir, which won’t be available in the U.S. until September, and I read the first two pages and I started longing for Ireland. Aching. Why would I NOT go to Ireland with Belle when I’ll have free lodging, will get to explore the southern bits of the country, a place I haven’t yet been. I rushed back to my office and checked Cheaptickets.com for the fare she’d mentioned to me. It wasn’t there. It had gone up $130, which pretty much pushed it out the range of do-able.

What a non-planning dumbass I am.

She stopped by and we talked about the trip I wouldn’t be taking. The things I could have done. (It turns out there’s more to do in Waterford than just the crystal factory tour.) We stretched ourselves over my Irish road map and speculated about places I could have seen.

She distracted me from my One True Love though by asking what the deal was Friday with the visiting writer, my two-day crush.

What deal?

He was flirting with you, she said.

He was? I knew I was flirting with _him_, but he was flirting with me?

Seemed like it to me, she said. He was mostly talking to you all night. He kept saying that thing about having you come down and taking you up in the chopper. I think he was flirting.

Here was me thinking my co-workers were embarrassed for me last week, flirting so pathetically with the famous writer, the author of one of the best 25 books of 2005. Here was me not knowing he was maybe flirting back. Oh, how I wished I’d have shaved my legs. Maybe I would have been bolder. Maybe, at the very least, I would have gone to Comfort Inn and pelted his windows with tiny chunks of Hoosier limestone.

There really is not any Hoosier limestone here. I said that to be poetic. I apologize.

It’s hard to live your life with no foresight. It gives you the opportunity to be spontaneous (there’s no plan to stick to), but without a plan sometimes you forget what your goals are. Fares go up, you miss a trip. Legs aren’t shaved, you miss, well, out.

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