November 18th, 2015 by alexfaye

I always give the finger to anyone who blows their horn at me, even if they have a point.   It just seems like the right thing to do.  Horns lack subtlety of any kind, and even though the guy today may have been justified in blasting his big Dodge Ram horn at my little Toyota Matrix, I still felt I should flip him off, so I did.

The thing about teaching at a large public high school though is that the closer you are in proximity to the school in the morning, the more likely you know the person in the Dodge Ram.  Even more likely: they know you.

Teachers live in a fishbowl, and fish inside fishbowls should not give the finger to anyone. Or fin.  Fin You!

The morning is such a struggle.  I walk Hank, and we don’t even go that far.  I am always trying to leave earlier than I do, but I end up leaving right at 7:00, and even a little later.  That puts so much pressure on my commute up the 605 — nothing can go wrong.  And then I’m driving in with all the parents and kids, and I frequently end up practicing deep breathing to keep from losing my mind.  I walk in with my bags draped across my body (backpack, lunch bag, canvas sack of (untouched) work, purse) and open the door to the kids.  Bell rings, and it’s off to the races.

What would be better:  getting up much earlier, and walking Hank much farther, and leaving earlier, and getting to school earlier.  All of that would be better.

Most people need to sleep more.  I need to sleep more.  And people get better sleep and rest when they go to bed earlier than they do when they sleep in later. Just more time in bed does not necessarily mean more rest or better rest.  And they say that 7 hours of sleep is essential. (Essential.  I think we’re going to find out that all of this sleep deprivation we’ve taught ourselves to live with is just as bad as smoking.)

Here’s another thing they say: we should disconnect from screens at least an hour before bed.  It’s even better to disconnect TWO hours before bed.

So here’s the day as it SHOULD be.  I should hear my alarm at 5am, and get up the first time.

Because the other thing they say is that you should set your alarm a half hour earlier and get up the first time.  With this simple act, you teach yourself to overcome the fat, hairy resistance that sits between you and your higher purpose.  There are so many things that we want to do, but we never get started.  But we teach ourselves to do what is best by getting up the first time the alarm goes off.

So, it goes off at 5:00.

I should be clean already.
My lunch should be made.
My clothes should be pressed and ready to go.
I go out to the kitchen, drink lemon, honey and cayenne pepper on an empty stomach.
Then I should do a 10-minute work out, working towards the day that these are easy, and I need to add more strenuous exercise to that short routine.
By now, it’s 5:30.
Get dressed, pack up my bags, get everything staged for loading, eat oatmeal, and some lean protein. Maybe chop up a hard-boiled egg white and toss it into the oatmeal.
6:00 a.m., walk Hank for 30 minutes.
6:30 a.m. settle Hank in, and then leave.
Arrive at school at 7a.m. at the latest.
Why? No traffic.  No long line at the copy machine.  Quiet time in the classroom with the black journal, plan the day.
1:00 Lunch.  Get out of the classroom and seek the company of other adults.  Eat a healthy lunch. 
1:30 Drink a big coffee, and work (grading, planning, never ending email) until 4:00  [work hours:  8 hours]
4:00 Come home, drink a big water and eat a gigantic salad.
5:00 Hank time
6:30 Write, read, plan, work until 8:30. [2 hours]
8:30  Yoga mat
9:00  shower, prepare lunch, lay out clothes, journal, meditate.  Bed by 10.

The routine that I always thought to be so rigid, so inflexible, so SQUARE — look.  It’s actually the path to liberation.

Here’s some wisdom I’ve finally earned:  there is no time to waste.  I like to be flexible and you know, take a phone call now and then, but honestly, the day is busy.  The weeks fly by.  There are not enough hours to do everything that I want to do, everything that I should, and get my work done too.  Everything — the food, the exercise, the quiet time, the Hank time, the writing time, and reading time…all of that adds up.  And when I’m into a stack of papers, I can’t stop, can I?  It’s difficult.  When I’ve built up some momentum with a stack, I need to keep going.

If you have an answer, let me know.  Surely this is the path to sanity, but my feet do not seem able to stay upon it for long.

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